The amount of lead generated from secondary sources exceeds that produced from primary sources. Primary lead production is also decreasing across the world. This ensures that every year, more lead is generated along the secondary path, which includes hundreds of small-scale recyclers throughout the world. It is important to ensure that lead is manufactured by secondary smelting only in an environmentally sustainable way, as failure to do so would result in significant environmental and health issues. The Batteries Management and Handling Rules were implemented in 2001 with the main aim of maintaining the proper storage of recycled lead-acid batteries with the involvement of all stakeholders.
Improper lead handling and recycling could endanger workers’ health and have a negative effect on the environment. As a result, it is critical to ensure that secondary lead processing takes place in facilities that are registered with the Central or State Pollution Control Boards in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Manufacturers have obligations under the Battery Regulations to ensure that used batteries are processed and routed to licensed recyclers.
Sources of battery waste include the following:
- Lead-acid batteries which are used
- Manufacturing industries
- Cable companies
- Printing press
- Lead pipes
Safe disposal of batteries
Proper and safe disposal of the batteries is the crucial step towards mitigating the harm caused to the environment. Firstly have thorough research and gain knowledge pertaining to laws and regulations with regards to batter scrap management. Drop off the batteries at the E-waste collection centres instead of throwing them on land.
Regulation in India for battery scrap management
For the purpose of battery scrap management following points must be kept in mind:
- As per the Battery Waste Management Rules, 2020 the various provisions are formulated In India. The battery is understood to be the electrical energy source that is produced when electrical energy is converted. Also, it includes primary batteries which are disposable or includes secondary batteries which are rechargeable and include any other battery that contains any hazardous material as given under Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016.
- Further environmentally sound management of battery waste means to include that the management of battery must be done keeping in mind that no adverse effect on environment and health must be caused due to the presence of hazardous substances present in such waste.
- According to these regulations it is to be noted that no battery would be introduced in the market has more than 5ppm of mercury by weight and also a battery that is portable must not contain more than 0.002% of cadmium by weight.
- Moreover, the battery has to be marked with the “crossed-out wheeled bin symbol” before being placed in the market. In the case of cylindrical batteries, the crossed-out wheeled bin symbol must occupy at least 2% of the battery or battery pack’s surface area.
- The battery or battery pack does not need to be labelled if the crossed-out wheeled bin symbol is less than 0.5 x 0.5 centimetres, but a crossed-out wheeled bin symbol of at least 1 x 1 centimetre must be published on the packaging.
- The crossed-out wheeled bin symbol must be visible, legible, and indelibly written.
Responsibility of the manufacturer and importer of battery
Manufacturer, re-conditioner, assembler, and importer shall have the following responsibilities:
- To ensure that all used batteries are obtained in compliance with the Schedule before new batteries are sold, with the exception of those sold to original equipment suppliers and bulk consumers.
- To ensure that the used batteries that are collected back must be similar to the new batteries which are sold and should also have similar specifications.
- To set up recycling centres at different locations, either separately or together, to recover used batteries from customers or retailers.
- To assure that used batteries are only sent out to approved recyclers.
- To guarantee that no environmental harm happens during the shipment of used batteries and that no acid is discharged in the case of used lead-acid batteries.
- To help create public awareness by means of advertisements, posters, etc.
- To have mandated use of international recycling sign on batteries.
In the nutshell, it can be said that the use and disposal of batteries must be done without the need to compromise human health and the environment. We must inculcate the practices that render the safe and sound use of batteries.