New battery law enters into force this month

5 July 2023

On 11 May 2023, the Governor of Washington signed a Bill Providing for Responsible Environmental Management of Batteries into law.

The legislation will establish the state’s sixth stewardship program – alongside electronic products, light bulbs, PV panels, pharmaceuticals, and paints – and will apply to portable batteries and battery-containing products. From 1 January 2029, the law will also apply to medium format batteries.

According to the legislation, as of 1 January 2027, all producers will need to contribute to an approved battery stewardship plan through the participation in and funding of a battery stewardship organisation. Otherwise, they will not be permitted to sell into the state.

Likewise, retailers will not sell those batteries and battery-containing products unless the producers participate in the stewardship organisation with an approved plan and mark the batteries according to the legislation.

The legislation sets out in detail the components of the stewardship plan for portable batteries, which must be submitted to the Department of Ecology for approval by 1 July 2026, or within six months of the adoption of the implementing rules (and within 24 months of the adoption of the rules for medium format batteries).

Each battery stewardship organisation will need to ensure adequate funding for battery collection, transporting and processing, as well as education and outreach. The recycling efficiency rates must be set at a minimum of 60 per cent for rechargeable batteries and 70 per cent for primary batteries.

By 1 June 2028, and every 1 June thereafter, each battery stewardship organisation will submit an annual report to the Department covering the preceding calendar year of its plan’s implementation.

The legislation will enter into force later this month on 23 July 2023.

Washington is one of the jurisdictions covered by Landbell Group’s regulatory tracking service. Find out more about the service here.