Batteries Explained

Under the Waste Battery and Accumulator Regulations 2009
battery producers and distributors are responsible for minimising
harmful effects of waste batteries on the environment

Under the Waste Battery and Accumulator Regulations, battery producers are responsible for minimising harmful effects of waste batteries on the environment

The Waste Battery and Accumulator Regulations 2009 came into force in May 2009 and implemented the provisions made for waste batteries in the EU Directive 2006/66/EC.

These Regulations set out requirements for waste battery collection, treatment, recycling and disposal for all battery types and affect producers, battery distributors (retailers), waste battery collectors, recyclers and exporters.

These Regulations supplement the Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008, which outline a range of product design requirements, including restrictions on the use of mercury and cadmium in new batteries, battery labelling requirements and standards for the design of new appliances to be so that batteries can be easily removed.

This legislation aims to improve the environmental performance of batteries and accumulators and all those involved in their life cycle.

Who is Obligated?

You can be obligated under the Waste Batteries Regulations if you are either a producer or distributor of batteries.


You will be obligated as a producer under this legislation if your business first places batteries onto the UK market; this includes batteries contained within products such as in a laptop or mobile phone etc. Therefore if you import electrical and electronic products containing batteries into the UK it is likely you will have an obligation under these regulations.  

Your company must also have a physical presence in the UK, such as a UK office, trading arm, or Post Office box to be considered a producer.

The types of batteries covered are automotive batteries, industrial batteries and portable batteries. Your company is not considered the producer of batteries if you import them for your own use.

Companies that have bought batteries from a UK supplier are not considered to be a producer.


A distributor is a company that supplies batteries or products containing batteries, on a professional basis to an end-user. This includes UK sourced batteries.

Distributors who sell more than 32 kilograms a year of portable batteries to end users have a distributor obligation. This means you must accept waste portable batteries from end users without charge.

If the batteries are sold within products (eg. a laptop battery) then you would not have this obligation unless you also sold portable batteries separately above the threshold weight.

It is possible that you are both a producer and a distributor and if this is the case, you will need to comply with the obligations for both categories.

The Comply Direct team are fantastic people to have at the end of the phone, supporting us over our 7 year WEEE compliance membership and we have since joined their Packaging and Batteries schemes

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Different types of batteries

What is a portable battery?

A portable battery is one which sealed, weighs less than 4kg and has not been designed for any specific industrial or professional use or used to start a vehicle. There are two different types of portable batteries registration. A large producer intends to place over 1 tonne of portable batteries on the UK market in a year, a small producer below 1 tonne.

What is an automotive battery?

An automotive battery is one intended to be used as power during automotive ignition, start or lighting. You would have an obligation if you place automotive batteries on the UK market.

What is an industrial battery?

An industrial battery is not intended to be used for power during vehicle ignition (automotive). It may be sealed or unsealed and could be a battery designed for a specific use professionally or industrially. A sealed battery not designed for a specific purpose or used during vehicle ignition would be declared as portable if it weighed less than 4kg. if it weighed more than 4kg it would be considered industrial. If you need any assistance in classifying your batteries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Find out if you are obligated today

To find out if you are obligated by the Batteries Regulations take the simple Batteries Compliance Assessment.

Batteries Knowledge Bank

Find out more about your obligations under the Waste Battery and Accumulator Regulations 2009 with the Comply Direct Batteries Knowledge Bank, available to download HERE and at the bottom of this web page. 

We aim to simplify the complex Batteries Regulations so that UK companies can quickly get a firm understanding of the Regulations and their possible obligation. 

The Batteries Knowledge Bank has been recently updated to include new regulations for 2015 as well as updated definitions of portable batteries following government consultation.

Battery Recycling

It is important that batteries are disposed of correctly and recycled where possible. If you have small amounts of batteries, you can take them to your local recycling centre, but you must check first that they have the facilities to treat or recycle the batteries correctly.

Shops that sell more than 32kg of batteries are now required to provide battery recycling collection facilities in-store meaning you can also dispose of portable batteries here.

I don’t think I’m obligated, but my business has waste batteries

If you generate waste batteries within your business but you are not obligated under the Waste Batteries Regulations, you can request a battery bin for your business.

Comply Direct have a partnership with BatteryBack who provide a range of battery cans with varying specifications to suit the needs of many types of business. Get in touch today to request your battery bin. We can also arrange free collections of the bin and replacement bins when full. There is a charge for the initial installation of a battery container, however, collections are free of charge thereafter once the bins are full and have reached 40kg of waste batteries. 

If you need any further information about the Waste Batteries Regulations or would like to chat to one of our experts, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

Take Our Batteries Compliance Assessment

Find out if you are obligated by the Batteries regulations.

Top FAQs

We aim to simplify the complex Batteries Regulations so that UK companies can quickly get a firm understanding of the Regulations and their possible obligation. The questions below are designed to answer who is obligated by the Batteries Regulations and how it affects them. For more FAQ's on Batteries Compliance click the links below.

Batteries Compliance

Which businesses are affected by the battery regulations?

Batteries Compliance

What type of batteries are affected?

Batteries Compliance

What do I have to do as a batteries producer or distributor?

Batteries Compliance

How does the registration differ if I am a portable, industrial or automotive batteries producer?