India generates more than 50000 tons of Battery Waste every year, this includes dry & lead acid batteries. The legal framework around the battery waste was limited to Lead Acid batteries. However, the dry batteries waste is also significant in numbers, which was not being monitored until now. The Government of India, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change introduced the Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022 (Hereinafter referred to as Rules of 2022) replacing the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001. The Rules of 2022 came into the picture for extending the jurisdiction of these rules on all battery types, including those used in automobiles, portable devices, industrial equipment, and electric vehicles
The applicability of New Rules has also changed, It shall apply to
- Producer, dealer, consumer, entities involved in the collection, segregation, transportation, refurbishment, and recycling of Waste batteries
- All types of batteries regardless of chemistry, shape, volume, weight, material composition, and use.
Fresh Provisions Introduced: The Rules of 2022 has widened the jurisdiction of these rules by introducing the following fresh provisions
- Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR): The battery manufacturers (Producers), including importers, are responsible for collecting used batteries, recycling or refurbishing them, and using the materials recovered from these processes to make new batteries. It stipulates that all used batteries be collected and delivered for recycling or refurbishing, and it forbids their combustion and disposal in landfills. Producers under EPR may arrange for the collection, recycling, or refurbishment of waste batteries in order to fulfill their EPR duties, or they can give permission to any other organization. Producers to set up a mechanism and centralized online portal for the exchange of EPR certificates between producers and recyclers/refurbishers to fulfill their obligations
- Target-based Collection, Recycling, and Recovery: The Rules of 2022 have put an obligation on the Producer to use recycled materials in new batteries and on Recyclers to recover the maximum old batteries. It is the responsibility of Producers and Recyclers to meet their targets Year on Year basis. The assessment of the minimum use of the recycled materials in the Battery shall be in respect of the total dry weight of the Battery. In the case of imported Battery, the Producer has to meet the obligation of the minimum use by way of getting such quantity of recycled materials utilized by other businesses or by way of exporting such quantity of recycled materials. The Producer have the obligation with respect to the minimum use of domestically recycled materials in new Battery as per the table below
|S.No.||Type of Battery||Minimum use of the recycled materials out of the total dry weight of a Battery (in percentage)|
|2027-28||2028-29||2029-30||2030-31 and onwards|
|2024-25||2025-26||2026-27||2027-28 and onwards|
- For the Recyclers, the percentage is set for the maximum criteria to be met every year. Maximum recovery target is subject to the percentage of non-recoverable hazardous material content in the Battery. It would mean the reduction of the recovery target by the same percentage of the hazardous material present in the Waste Battery. The targets for Recyclers are given below:
|S.No.||Type of Battery||Recovery target for the year in percentage|
|2024-25||2025-26||2026-27 and onwards|
- In case the Producers become a deficit in reaching their yearly liability, they can purchase an Extended Producer Responsibility Certificate for their current year liability including the leftover liability of preceding years plus 10% of the current year liability. Based on the weight of the Battery processed, percentage fulfilment of material recovery targets for the specified year, and geographical source of the Battery, the EPR certificates for recyclers and refurbishes to be generated by the Central Pollution Control Board. However, the Producers will meet their Extended Producer Responsibility obligation via the EPR certificate made available by the recycler or refurbisher and In case of non-availability of EPR certificate with recyclers or refurbishes, the Producer shall be responsible for collection as well.
- Environmental Compensation of Fund: A fresh penalty has been imposed on the polluter pays principle, which means that violation or manipulation of any of the engagement, activities, permission granted under these rules will attract a hefty penalty under the name of Environmental Compensation. While the CPCB will impose this penalty on non-fulfilment of EPR responsibility, targets and obligations and SPCB can impose it on Refurbishers or Recyclers on non-fulfilment of their responsibility and obligations. While the payment of Environmental Compensation will not absolve the Polluter from its primary responsibility under EPR, The funds collected will be kept in a separate escrow account. This fund will be used in collecting the uncollected, non-recycled or non-refurbished waste battery and in any other recommended activity approved by the Central Government.
Changes in Current Provisions
The Rules of 2022 have modified the changes in few provisions in order to enhance the jurisdiction:
Battery has a new definition which includes new or refurbished cells and Battery along with its components, including accumulator, which is any source of electrical energy generated by direct conversion of chemical energy and includes disposable primary and secondary batteries
Some of the essential definitions included are
- Automotive batterywhich is any battery that is used only for lighting, ignition power or automotive starter
- Electric Vehicle battery is any battery that is mainly designed to give power to electric or hybrid vehicles for road transport
- Extended Producers’ Responsibility is the policy that bestows responsibility on any producer or battery for waste management of battery in an environmentally sound way
- Extended Producers’ Responsibility Registration means authorisation provided by the Central Pollution Control Board
- Industrial batteries batteries include any and all batteries that are used in industries barring the Portable Battery, Electric Vehicle Battery and Automotive Battery
- Portable Batteries are sealed, weigh less than five kilograms and are not made for industrial purposes Electric Vehicle Battery and Automotive Battery
- Producer means any individual or entity that is part of the manufacturing process or sale of Battery which may include refurbished battery and its parts under its own trademark or sale of Battery that may contain refurbished Battery and its equipment, under its own trademark manufactured by other producers or dealers; as well as the trade of Battery as well as material which contain Battery
- Waste Battery’ includes consumed/End of Life Battery or components of batteries or spares/parts/consumables that can be or may not be toxic in nature; Batteries whose date for appropriate use has expired; Batteries which has been thrown away by the consumer and Pre-consumer Off-Spec Battery and components of batteries or spares/parts/consumables
- Concept of Bulk Consumer has been removed and the threshold for declaring any consumer as a Bulk Consumer has also been removed. The responsibility of Bulk Consumer to submit a Half Yearly Return has also been removed. The definition of a Consumer has been simplified, the end user of a Battery is termed as a Consumer.
India as a country is quite vast and this generates a problem for the government to take effective steps against the environment pollution caused by batteries. Every year, demand for batteries is increasing and along with it is rising the quickly growing popularity of electronic vehicles and an alternate electrical option based on batteries. The amount of used batteries is rising significantly, Heavy metals including mercury, lead, cadmium, and chromium, as well as toxic substances like corrosive electrolytes, are abundant in waste batteries and they present a risk to both human health and the environment. With the introduction of the newly implemented Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022, the overall scope has been expanded to include newer battery types like automotive batteries, electric vehicle batteries, industrial batteries, and portable batteries. However, it is yet to be seen, how effective these steps become in our battle to preserve the environment around us