Are you subject to the extended producer responsibility for batteries? Find out here, and see what it means for your company, and not least how Elretur can help you live up to your producer responsibility obligations.
Who does it affect?
Producer responsibility rests with anyone who sells batteries that are subject to the duty of registration as the first stage of sale in Denmark. In other words the producer responsibility lies with both companies that produce and sell batteries in Denmark, and companies that import batteries from abroad and sell them in Denmark. This also applies to foreign companies that sell products directly to Danish consumers. Built-in batteries are also covered by the extended producer responsibility. For example, these can be batteries in a musical card or a remote control .
Which batteries are covered (batteries subject to registration)?
All batteries covered by the extended producer responsibility, with the exception of batteries used to protect Denmark’s security interests or in equipment that is sent out into space. The covered batteries are defined in the Executive Order on Batteries as: 1) portable batteries, 2) industrial batteries and 3) car batteries. “Portable batteries” are all batteries that are not either industrial batteries or car batteries. All household batteries are portable batteries, but standard batteries used in business products are also portable. The term “portable” should not be taken literally. “Industrial batteries” are batteries manufactured exclusively for industrial use or for use in electric vehicles. “Car batteries” are batteries used exclusively for starting engines.
Obligations arising from the extended producer responsibility
Duty to register and report The extended producer responsibility entails a duty to register with the Danish Environmental Protection Agency’s producer register (DPA-System), which is publicly available. You must register no later than 14 days before you begin selling the products. If your company sells portable batteries, you have an additional obligation to register with the Danish Business Authority (Erhvervs- og Selskabsstyrelsen). In addition, every year, your company must report information such as how many kilos of batteries you have sold, how many kilos of spent batteries you have collected, etc. Elretur handles this reporting obligation for its members. It is a criminal offence to sell the batteries without being registered in the offical producer register, and to buy the batteries from an unregistered manufacturer. Collection and disposal obligation All manufacturers/importers are responsible for disposing of and handling their spent batteries in an environmentally responsible manner. Portable batteries are collected from municipal collection points, which the Danish Environmental Protection Agency allocates to manufacturers/importers once a year. As it is an impossible task for the individual companies to deal with the collection and reprocessing of the spent portable batteries themselves, they have typically signed up for a producer organisation such as Elretur in order to meet these obligations. Manufacturers of industrial and car batteries must accept returns of their own batteries. The producers therefore do not need to have a producer organisation to handle their producer responsibility, but membership of Elretur may still be beneficial, as Elretur handles the administrative tasks in relation to the authorities, and offers members advice on producer responsibility. Elretur does not offer a take-back service for industrial batteries and car batteries, as some batteries are very costly to upcycle, while others can be a source of income due to the reusable raw materials. Therefore, it is not possible to offer a fair solution for all manufacturers of industrial and car batteries. Duty to provide information In order to prevent end-users from disposing of spent batteries as household waste, producers/importers are obliged to:
- inform about the proper disposal of spent batteries in their sales and information materials, including in manuals or at the point of sale.
- conduct public information campaigns on the collection, treatment and recycling of end-of-life portable batteries and accumulators. Elretur handles this obligation on behalf of all our members. You can read more about the campaign here
In relation to the obligation regarding case and information material, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency has prepared the following standard text that can be used: “Batteries contain substances that can be harmful to human health and the environment if not handled properly. Batteries are marked with the crossed-out wheelie bin. It symbolises that end-of-life batteries cannot be disposed of as unsorted household waste, but must be collected separately. Some batteries are also marked with the chemical symbols Hg (mercury), Cd (cadmium) or Pb (lead). These are particularly harmful substances, which means that it is important that these batteries are collected. (This is only necessary if the battery contains the substances in question) It is important that you hand in your spent batteries to the collection schemes that have been established. That way, you will help to ensure that the batteries are recycled in accordance with the law, and that you do not harm the environment unnecessarily”. The standard text also contains a final text, which depends on the type of battery in question:
- Portable batteries: All municipalities have established collection schemes through which used portable batteries are collected directly from households, or can be handed in free of charge by citizens at recycling centres and other collection points. Further information can be obtained from the municipality’s technical administration.
- Car batteries: Used car batteries can be handed in to repair shops that take back car batteries, municipalities that have established collection schemes at e.g. recycling centres, or to reception sites established by the battery manufacturers around the country.
- Industrial batteries: Used industrial batteries can be handed in to the manufacturer or importer that originally marketed the battery, or to the manufacturer or importer from which a new industrial battery is purchased.
Transfer of producer responsibility to the next stage of sale
Transferring the producer responsibility for portable batteries to the next stage of sale is not permitted. The company that produces/imports the portable batteries always has the producer responsibility. On the other hand, the manufacturer/importer may transfer the obligation to dispose of industrial and car batteries to the next stage of sale.