Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022

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    • Recently, the government notified Battery Waste Management Rules, 2022 to ensure environmentally sound management of waste batteries.

    More about the rules

    • About:
      • The new rules replace the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001
      • The new rules cover all types of batteries – 
        • Electric Vehicle batteries, 
        • Portable batteries, 
        • Automotive batteries and 
        • Industrial batteries.
    • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR):
      • The rules function based on the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). 
      • The producers (including importers) of batteries are responsible for the collection and recycling/refurbishment of waste batteries 
      • They are also responsible for the use of recovered materials from wastes into new batteries.
    • Environmental compensation:
      • On the principle of Polluter Pays Principle, environmental compensation will be imposed for non-fulfilment of Extended Producer Responsibility targets, responsibilities and obligations set out in the rules. 
      • Funds under compensation:
        • The funds collected under environmental compensation shall be utilised in the collection and refurbishing or recycling of uncollected and non-recycled waste batteries.
    • Recycling:
      • EPR mandates that all waste batteries to be collected and sent for recycling/refurbishment, and its prohibits disposal in landfills and incineration
        • Producers can engage themselves or authorise any other entity for the purpose.
      • The rules promote setting up of new industries and entrepreneurship in collection and recycling/refurbishment of waste batteries. 
    • Online portal: 
      • The rules will enable setting up a mechanism and centralised online portal for the exchange of EPR certificates between producers and recyclers/refurbishers to fulfil the obligations of producers.

     

    What is Battery recycling?

    • About:
      • Battery recycling is a recycling activity that aims to reduce the number of batteries being disposed of as municipal solid waste
      • Batteries contain a number of heavy metals and toxic chemicals.
      • Disposing of them by the same process as regular household waste has raised concerns over soil contamination and water pollution.
    • Disadvantages of improper Battery disposal:
      • Pollution:
        • When depleted batteries are tossed into the trash, they end up in landfills where they decay and leak
        • As batteries corrode, their chemicals soak into soil and contaminate groundwater and surface water. 
        • Our ecosystems, which contain thousands of aquatic plants and animals, are compromised when filled with battery chemicals. 
      • Landfill fires:
        • Lithium batteries can cause landfill fires that can smolder for many years
        • As a result, the toxic chemicals released into the air negatively affect our breathing and contribute to global warming. 
        • The vaporized form of improperly exposed batteries also gets trapped in the atmosphere and pollutes lakes and streams in the form of rain.
      • Health hazards:
        • Exposing the environment to lead and strong corrosive acids found in batteries can cause burns and dangers to our eyes and skin.
        • Toxic metals like nickel and cadmium found in batteries are known human carcinogens
        • Another toxic metal that can be found in batteries is lead, which has been linked to severe medical issues like developmental & neurological damage and congenital disabilities.

    Significance

    •  New technologies and investment:
    • Mandating the minimum percentage of recovery of materials from waste batteries under the rules will bring new technologies and investment in the recycling and refurbishment industry and create new business opportunities.
    • Recycling:
      • Prescribing the use of a certain amount of recycled materials in making new batteries will reduce the dependency on new raw materials and save natural resources.
    • Effective implementation and compliance:
      • Online registration & reporting, auditing, and a committee for monitoring the implementation of rules and taking measures required for removal of difficulties will ensure effective implementation and compliance.
    • Electric vehicles as a future: 
      • Transport sector in India is one of the major contributors to CO2 emissions and accounts for one-third of the particulate matter emissions.
      • To decarbonize the transport sector, transition to clean mobility, led by electric vehicles, is paramount
        • Electric mobility represents a viable option to meet these commitments, while packed with innovative business solutions, appropriate technology, and support infrastructure. 
      • With the promotion of electric vehicles, it is required to regulate the disposal of battery technology. 

    Other related initiative 

    Draft Battery Swapping Policy:

    • About:
      • Recently, NITI Aayog released the Draft Battery Swapping Policy.
      • It is an alternative that involves exchanging discharged batteries for charged ones. 
      • Battery Swapping de-links the vehicle and fuel (Battery in this case) and hence reduces the upfront cost of the vehicles
    • Aim:
      • To catalyse the large-scale adoption of Electric Vehicle (EVs) by improving the efficient and effective use of scarce resources (viz. public funds, land, and raw materials for advanced cell batteries) for the delivery of customer centric services. 
        • This Policy would support the vision by promoting the adoption of battery swapping technology.
    • Advantage:
      • This initiative will help in promoting better lifecycle management of batteries, including maximising the use of batteries during their usable lifetime, and end-of-life battery recycling