Battery waste: retailer and distributor responsibilities

You must offer free collection (‘takeback’) of waste or used batteries if you sell or supply 32kg or more of portable batteries per year.

One pack of 4 AA batteries per day equals about 32kg per year.

You must have a collection point at all premises from where you supply batteries. This applies if you run a shop, a chain of shops or sell batteries online, by mail order or telephone.

Batteries you must take back

You must take back any type of sealed battery that can be carried without difficulty by an average person.

This includes (but is not limited to) AA, AAA and 9v batteries, rechargeable batteries and batteries from:

  • mobile phones
  • laptops
  • hearing aids
  • watches
  • portable cameras
  • torches
  • electric toothbrushes
  • razors
  • hand-held vacuum cleaners

You do not need to take back car and motorbike batteries or batteries from industrial equipment.

The collection point

You must have a collection point in your place of business.

It should be suitable for the safe storage of all kinds of portable batteries, not just the types you sell.

You must let people know that you collect used batteries, for example by displaying posters in your premises or publishing it on your website.

You can download posters at the RecycleNow Partners website.

You’ll need to register but there’s no fee.

Send batteries to be recycled

A battery compliance scheme will collect your batteries free of charge - search online to find one.

To transport batteries yourself, for example to a recycling plant, you must:

Smaller retailers and distributors

You do not have to take back used batteries if you sell less than 32kg of batteries a year.

You can voluntarily take back batteries but you may have to arrange collection and transport yourself. Speak to a compliance scheme operator - they may offer a collection.

You must follow the law on moving hazardous waste if you transport batteries yourself.

Enforcement and penalties

The Office for Product Safety and Standards manages the takeback scheme. They can visit your premises at any time to check how you’re handling waste batteries.

You could be fined up to £5,000 if you do not comply with the regulations.

You can contact The Office for Product Safety and Standards using the online enquiry form or by writing to:

Office for Product Safety and Standards
PO Box 17200
Birmingham
B2 2YT