New Delhi: Grappling with the mammoth task of handling and proper disposal of batteries, especially with rising numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) on road, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC) has come out with the Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022 to ensure environmentally sound management of waste batteries.
Notification of these rules is a transformative step towards implementation of the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on Independence Day to promote circular economy in full earnest.
New rules, which will replace Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001, are based on the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) for the producers or their importers.
The rules cover all types of batteries, viz. electric vehicle (EVs) batteries, portable batteries, automotive batteries and industrial batteries.
The rules envisage that producers (including importers) of batteries are responsible for collection and recycling/refurbishment of waste batteries and use of recovered materials from wastes into new batteries.
EPR mandates that all waste batteries to be collected and sent for recycling /refurbishment, and its prohibits disposal in landfills and incineration. To meet the EPR obligations, producers may engage themselves or authorise any other entity for collection, recycling or refurbishment of waste batteries.
The rules will enable setting up a mechanism and centralized online portal for exchange of EPR certificates between producers and recyclers of refurbishers to fulfil the obligations of producers.
The rules promote setting up of new industries and entrepreneurship in collection and recycling/refurbishment of waste batteries.
Mandating the minimum percentage of recovery of materials from waste batteries under the rules will bring new technologies and investment in recycling and refurbishment industry and create new business opportunities.
Prescribing the use of certain amount of recycled materials in making of new batteries will reduce the dependency on new raw materials and save natural resources.
Online registration & reporting, auditing, and committee for monitoring the implementation of rules and to take measures required for removal of difficulties are salient features of rules for ensuring effective implementation and compliance.
On the principle of polluter pays principle, environmental compensation will be imposed for non-fulfilment of EPR targets, responsibilities and obligations set out in the rules. The funds collected under environmental compensation shall be utilised in collection and refurbishing or recycling of uncollected and non-recycled waste batteries.