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In 2009, new regulations on the recycling of batteries and accumulators (rechargeable batteries) were introduced. The Batteries Regulations aim to significantly increase UK collection and recycling of used portable batteries from the current rate of about 3% to 25% by 2012, rising to at least 45% in 2016.

These regulations affect distributors of batteries

A distributor is someone who provides batteries on a professional basis to an end-user (consumers and/or business). From 1 February 2010, if you are a distributor who supplies 32kg or more of portable batteries per year in an individual store, or by distance sales (e.g. over the internet, or via mail order), you will have certain obligations, including to take back used batteries from end-users free of charge.

From the 1st February 2010, VCA are responsible for ensuring that distributors of portable batteries play their part in helping end users to dispose of portable batteries at their end of life. To this end you may receive a visit from VCA Enforcement Officers to help you meet your obligations

For further information on distributor obligations under the battery regulations, follow the link to the VCA batteries leaflet or call the VCA battery Helpline on 0844 8000819.

Key Information

Adobe PDF document Batteries Enforcement Leaflet (PDF 1.1MB)

Adobe PDF document Frequently Asked Questions for distributors (PDF 265KB) (page opens in a new browser window)

Adobe PDF document Advisory Note on the Storage and Transport of Waste Portable Batteries (PDF 434KB) (page opens in a new browser window)

Do you supply more than 32kg of portable batteries a year? Use the Batteries on line Calculator to find out (page opens in a new browser window).

As a distributor of portable batteries you are required to provide information to your customers of your take back facility. To help you with this you can download a poster here: Link to the DEFRA Poster (page opens in a new browser window).

Free Retailers Battery Toolkit - Meet your legal obligations and enhance business reputation.

A free toolkit of resources is now available to help retailers meet their regulatory obligations and demonstrate their commitment to environmental issues. It includes a range of in-store and on-line marketing material designed to be customised to suit your own business and branding needs.

The toolkit was developed by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme), co-funded with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The VCA encourages all retailers to take a look and consider how they can use it to ensure compliance and maximise wider business benefits.

To access the toolkit visit Click on the link entitled Download Area, then register as a user for free and you will have free access to all of the information and resources available under the Battery Retailer Toolkit link (page opens in a new browser window).

Other useful links

DEFRA website (Battery Page) (page opens in a new browser window)

The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations (page opens in a new browser window)

Please follow this link to download a copy of VCA'sAdobe PDF document Enforcement Policy (PDF 738.4KB)

Please follow this link to or Adobe PDF documentProsecution Policy Document (PDF 692KB)

Details of Battery Compliance schemes

Information on Battery Compliance Schemes (page opens in a new browser window)

Environment Agencies

VCA guidance on WEEE

If you are a consumer or business that wants to recycle batteries.

Further information for consumers is available in the list of Frequently Asked Questions, available here (page opens in a new browser window).

Information on how you can dispose of your waste batteries for recycling is also available on Directgov

Link to Directgov - widest range of government information and services online (page opens in a new browser window)

If you think a distributor is not complying with their legal obligations to take back waste portable batteries, report to the VCA. Please follow this link: Batteries - Report an Infringement