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The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change has published the Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022 ensuring environment-friendly management of waste batteries, including electric vehicle (EV), portable, and automotive and industrial batteries.
The new rules will replace the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001.
The notification of the new rules is a transformative step aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to promote a circular economy.
The ministry has based the new rules on the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) concept under which the producers, including importers of batteries, would collect and recycle/refurbish waste batteries. They will also be responsible for using recovered materials from waste into new batteries.
Recycling waste battery means recycling materials such as lead, nickel, lithium, nickel, cobalt, plastics, rubber, glass, etc.
As per the new rules, waste batteries, their parts, and consumables, which include pre-consumer fast-pack batteries, must not be hazardous. Under EPR, a producer, trader, or supplier of batteries must get the waste batteries recycled and not dump them as waste.
The Pollution Control Board has been authorized to file the annual return. The details of the Registered Recognition Recycler, from whom the EPR certificate can be obtained, will also be obtained.
The new rules also list the specific types of batteries to be deemed waste while categorizing the minimum use of recycled material out of the total dry weight of a battery (in percentage).
EPR also mandates the provision of certificates proving the batteries are waste and can be refurbished or recycled. Units recycling the waste batteries must then provide a certificate for waste battery processing.
The Central Pollution Control Board will monitor the entire process of inspecting waste batteries to the recycling/ refurbishing process. A Joint Secretary or an equivalent officer in the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change will be designated as the Appellate Authority.EPR prohibits the disposal of waste batteries in landfills and incineration. Producers may engage or authorize any other entity to collect, recycle, or refurbish waste batteries to meet their respective EPR obligations.
The latest rules enable a mechanism and centralized online portal for exchanging EPR certificates between producers and recyclers/refurbishers to fulfill producers’ obligations.
The ministry also encourages new industries and entrepreneurship in waste battery collection and recycling/refurbishment.
Based on the Polluter Pays Principle, environmental compensation will be imposed for the non-fulfillment of EPR targets. The funds collected under the compensation will be utilized in collecting and refurbishing or recycling uncollected and non-recycled waste batteries.
The ministry aims at mandating a minimum percentage for recovery of materials from waste batteries under the new rules, to bring new technologies and investment in the battery recycling and refurbishing industry, and create new business opportunities.
In 2020, the government issued a draft notification for battery waste management, outlining regulations for all varieties of batteries.
In April this year, government think tank Niti Aayog issued a draft battery swapping policy that addresses the safety, reusability, and sustainability of the business models in the second-life applications of used batteries.