New regulations concerning batteries distribution - the Polish Batteries Act of 12.05.2009

12 April 2010

Piotr Dynowski, Krzysztof Korwin-Kossakowski

The Batteries Act that implements Directive 2006/66/EC of 6 September 2006 and provides requirements and obligations for undertakings that are importing, producing, selling or recycling batteries in Poland, in major part entered into force on 12 June 2009.

The new law relates to subjects:

  • distributing batteries;

  • using batteries;

  • collecting, converting, recycling or disposing batteries.

The law relates to all kinds of batteries regardless of their shape, capacity, weight, material they are made of, way of using, or whether they are a separate device or part of any device. The Batteries Act also regulates the way of dealing with exhausted batteries.

The most important regulations of the new Batteries Act include:

(1) The batteries distributed on the Polish market:

  • cannot contain more mercury than 0.0005% of their weight

  • cannot contain more cadmium than 0.0002% of their weight

  • must be labeled according to the rules described in the new act (e.g. if batteries contain more cadmium than 0.0002% of their weight they should be labeled with Cd symbol and Pb if they contain more lead then 0.0004 of their weight).

  • Batteries that fail to fulfill the above-mentioned requirements cannot be distributed on the Polish market.

(2) After the batteries are exhausted they must be placed in containers used only for the purpose of storing used batteries. Then they must be transported to the place of recycling.

(3) Undertakings distributing batteries are obliged to organise and finance the process of collecting and storage of batteries as well as the process of recycling those batteries.

(4) All undertakings distributing any kind of batteries in any form are obliged to collect a defined amount of batteries each year. The amount of batteries that should be collected is regulated by a separate regulation of the Minister of Environment. Undertakings are obliged to provide the Marshal of the Voivodship with annual report on the amount of batteries collected. If the entrepreneur fails to fulfill the requirements he may be subjected to a fine.

(5) An undertaking distributing batteries is obliged to keep record of the amount, type and weight of batteries distributed on the market each year. The record is than conveyed to the Marshal of the Voivodship in the form of an annual report.

(6) Undertakings distributing batteries are obliged to enter into agreement with the entrepreneur who recycles batteries. The agreement must be made in the written form under the pain of nullity.

(7) Each undertaking distributing batteries on the Polish market is obliged to register in the register of entrepreneurs carried out by the Central Environment Protection Inspector and obtain a registration number. If the undertaking decides to cease his activity concerning batteries he is obliged to inform the Central Environment Protection Inspector and ask him to delete the undertaking’s number from the register. There is a fee for registration.

The deadline, for undertakings (importing or distributing batteries in Poland) to be listed in the register introduced by the Batteries Act, is 30 November 2009.

(8) The registration number must be placed on all documents concerning the distribution of batteries.

(9) In case of definite discontinuance of the distribution of batteries the undertaking is obliged to file a request to be removed from the register within 14 days.

(10) The Batteries Act puts an obligation on end users of the batteries to convey the exhausted batteries to undertakings who recycle batteries, distribute batteries or store exhausted batteries (manner of disposing the batteries depends on the type of the batteries).