The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change notified the Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022 (“2022 Rules”) on August 24, 2022, which replaces the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001 (which related only to lead acid batteries). The 2022 Rules extend to various types of batteries, including electric vehicle batteries, portable batteries, automotive batteries and industrial batteries.
The 2022 Rules introduce an Extended Producer Responsibility (“EPR”) which obligates the “Producer” (which includes an entity manufacturing or selling new and refurbished batteries or importing batteries including equipment comprising such batteries) to ensure ‘environmentally sound management’ of batteries. This has been introduced with an intent to reduce the adverse effect of waste batteries (which includes used and expired batteries) on the environment and human health. The 2022 Rules prohibit the Producer from disposing waste batteries in landfills and incinerators and instead the Producer is obligated to recycle, refurbish or re-purpose waste batteries. The 2022 Rules provide for targets which a Producer has to meet in order to fulfil its EPR obligations. The Producer also has an obligation to ensure a minimum set out quantity of recycled material in the manufactured battery.
The Producer has been provided with the flexibility to engage any other entity for recycling or refurbishment, in order to meet its EPR obligations. Any entity engaged in recycling or refurbishing of batteries will be assigned EPR certificates by the Central Pollution Control Board based on the recycled or refurbished quantity of waste. Such entities can then sell the assigned EPR certificates to a Producer in exchange of waste batteries.
A Producer is also expected to ensure batteries are labelled as per the requirements under the 2022 Rules. Consumers of batteries have to dispose battery waste separate from other waste.