The German Battery Act

Manufacturers assume product responsibility for take-back and disposal.

The aim of the BattG is to increase the percentage of batteries and accumulators that are returned, because these contain not only valuable raw materials but also substances that are environmental and health hazards. The law is supposed to extend the responsibility of manufacturers for the batteries and accumulators they place on the market to cover the entire life cycle of their equipment.

It therefore requires manufacturers, distributors or importers of batteries and accumulators to contribute to the cost of disposing of these. Companies are obliged to take back the batteries and accumulators they have placed on the market and dispose of them in accordance with specific environmental standards.

Batterien Gesetz BattG

 

What there is to know about the BattG

The BattG distinguishes between these three product classes:

  • Industrial batteries (for commercial and agricultural purposes and as a drive battery for electric and hybrid vehicles).
  • Automotive batteries (for ignition, starting and lighting of vehicles)
  • Appliance batteries (encapsulated batteries that can be held in the hand, with the exception of industrial and automotive batteries)

The batteries can be non-rechargeable (primary batteries) and rechargeable (secondary batteries, accumulators) - installed or individually. 

The BattG defines a manufacturer as any company in Germany that…

  • initially places batteries or devices with built-in or enclosed batteries on the German market for the purposes of distribution, consumption or use.
  • When selling batteries by unidentified manufacturers, the seller is automatically considered to be the manufacturer.

The BattG requires manufacturers to…

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More background information

2021 | Amendment BattG2

1st January 2021: The German BattG has been amended and came into force.

An overview of the most important changes:

  • stiftung ear will be the new approved "common point" for manufacturers and will in future be responsible for issuing or revoking manufacturer registrations as well as approvals of the portable battery take-back systems. There will be transitional periods for existing registrations of battery manufacturers until the end of 2021.
  • The Joint Take-Back System (GRS), which is based on solidarity, is abolished. In the future, there will only be privately operated take-back systems (the current manufacturer-owned take-back systems, HRS), which will compete with each other.
  • The collecion rate für portable batteries will be raised from 45% to 50%.
  • The method of calculation for the collection rate will be slightly adjusted. Lead-acid batteries may only be included in the calculation to a limited extent.
  • Clearly more organisations may operate as collection points for portable batteries. These now include e.g. public institutions such as authorities, schools or universities but further more all companies under private companies regardless their size.
  • The pickup of old portable batteries is defined more precisely, among them the weight limit for the full notification of collection containers and the deadline for collection by a take-back system after full notification.
  • Foreign manufacturers without a seat in Germany can voluntarily appoint an authorized representative, who is established in Germany. This person then represents the manufacturer tio the common point and the other market participants regarding the Battery Act and is also liable for all legal obligations of the represented manufacturer.
  • Manufacturers of vehicle or industrial batteries shall maintain financial and organizational resources in future to ensure the collection and recycling of their batteries. Details are still being clarified.

2001 | Enactment BattG

1st December 2001: The BattG has come into force in Germany.

 

For the regulation of the "placing on the market, the taking back and the environmentally sound disposal of batteries and accumulators", a reporting register at the stiftung ear as well as take-back systems have been established in Germany. 

National register: stiftung ear

Since 2021, stiftung ear has been the "common body" of producers. The national reporting register is responsible for issuing or revoking producer registrations as well as approvals of the portable battery take-back systems. 

National returns system: CCR Rebat

The Joint Take-Back System (GRS), which is based on solidarity, is abolished. In the future, there will only be privately operated take-back systems (the current manufacturer-owned take-back systems, HRS), which will compete with each other.

Clearly more organisations may operate as collection points for portable batteries. These now include e.g. public institutions such as authorities, schools or universities but further more all companies under private companies regardless their size.

CCR REBAT is the largest take-back system for portable batteries in Germany approved by the authorities. On behalf of affiliated manufacturers and distributors of batteries, CCR REBAT collects spent batteries in cooperation with many collection partners at over 16,000 locations in Germany and sends them for secure recycling.

Private individuals can hand in their defective or used batteries at retailers. Some municipal collection points also have special containers available for this purpose. Finally, CCR REBAT coordinates the disposal of the batteries. As soon as the containers are full, CCR REBAT takes care of their proper disposal. The disposal is financed by the contributions that companies have to pay to CCR REBAT. The amount of the contributions depends on the number of batteries sold in Germany.


 

The European Battery Directive

The European Battery Directive 2006/66/EC was adopted in Europe from 26 September 2006, and requires European countries to transpose the Directive into national law. The aim of the Battery Directive is to increase the percentage of batteries that are returned and recycled, because they contain not only valuable raw materials but also substances that are environmental and health hazards. On top of this, it sets limits for the use of harmful substances such as lead, mercury and cadmium. The Battery Directive requires manufacturers, distributors or importers of batteries to contribute to the cost of disposing of the batteries.


Implementation of the European Battery Directive 2006/66/EC in other countries

The members of the European Union had until 26th September 2008 to transpose the European Directive 2006/66/EC into national law. Before they start to sell their products, manufacturers of batteries in the respective countries are obliged to register with the appropriate battery collection systems or authorities. For this purpose, each country has its own national collection scheme. 

However the way in which the European Battery Directive has been implemented varies from one country to the next. Companies are subject to the specific national laws on importing and trading with batteries and accumulators that apply in each country. Unfortunately, this also means that the registration procedure varies from country to country too, meaning that they have to register separately for each country. There is no European-wide registration authority.

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