The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), India, recently published the draft ‘Battery Waste Management Rules 2020’ for the public to comment, suggest amendments or express concerns, if any. The aim of the new rules is to ensure proper handling and disposal of batteries across India and to reduce environmental hazards caused by improper disposal and treatment of the material. Once enforced, the new rules will replace the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001 with necessary amendments to ensure safe disposal and environmentally sound management of end-of-life batteries.
The rules apply to “Every manufacturer, producer, collection centre, importer, re-conditioner, re-furbisher, dismantler, assembler, dealer, recycler, auctioneer, vehicle service centre, consumer and bulk consumer involved in manufacture, processing, sale, purchase, collection, storage, re-processing and use of batteries or components there of including their components, consumables and spare parts which make the product operational.”
According to the draft rules, it shall be the responsibility of a manufacturer, importer, assembler and re-conditioner to ensure that the used batteries are collected back as per the Schedule against new batteries sold, excluding those sold to original equipment manufacturer and bulk consumers. They are also required to file annual return of their sales and buy-back to the State Pollution Control Board by December 31 every year. They should set up collection centres either individually or jointly at various places for collection of used batteries from consumers or dealers, and ensure that used batteries collected are sent only to the registered recyclers. In addition to the above responsibilities, the manufacturer shall collect hazardous waste generated during the manufacture of any battery and channelise it for recycling or disposal.
It shall be the responsibility of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to compile and publish the data received every year from the State Boards; Review the compliance of the rules periodically to improve the collection and recycling of used batteries and appraise MoEFCC; Prepare Guidelines/SOPs for battery recycling facilities; Standardise technologies for all types of battery recycling; Technology transfers; Standards for battery waste recycling and waste disposal out of recycling facilities; Establish R&D cell for battery recycling; Authorisation of procedures, etc. under EPR.
Further, the CPCB or an agency designated by it shall develop a system for computerised tracking of distribution and sale of batteries; collection, auction, transport and re-processing of used batteries; sale of re-processed lead by registered recyclers; and sale of lead from all domestic producers or importers. The amendment also lays out the responsibilities of the importer, assembler, dealer, re-conditioner, consumer, exporter, dismantler, collection centre and state/central pollution control board explicitly, and in addition stresses awareness on the hazards of lead, cadmium and mercury and safety measures associated with their handling.
Batteries covered include lithiumion, lead-acid, magnesium-ion, nickelcadmium, nickel-hydrogen, zinc-air, rechargeable alkaline, aluminium-air, sodium-sulphur, among others. The draft makes it clear that these regulations do not apply to batteries used in: Equipment connected with the protection of the essential security interests and intended specifically for military purposes; Equipment designed for space exploration; Emergency and alarm systems; Emergency lighting; and Medical Equipment.