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Car battery recycling system

To promote recycling to protect the environment and make effective use of natural resources

In recent years, protecting the environment for future generations has become an important issue. So has the need to recycle our limited natural resources in order to make effective use of them. In turn, society is becoming more concerned about these issues, and the government is introducing stronger laws and regulations regarding them.

With the remarkable economic growth and improved quality of life we have achieved over the past century, the car has become an indispensable mode of transportation in our daily lives. All manufacturers of car batteries, which are essential features of the car, are working to extend the life and improve the quality of their products and to develop batteries that can be used without concerns for safety.
When the lead-acid batteries used in cars are dead, throwing them away with regular waste is not appropriate from the standpoint of effective use of natural resources or environmental protection. In fact, such action contravenes the waste management and public cleansing law (the law).
The following information is intended for battery stores and other distributors to promote understanding, cooperation and support so that used lead-acid batteries can be recycled in accordance with the law.

Implementing an industry-wide trade-in system for the proper disposal of batteries.

The law further stipulates the "cooperation of business organizations" (article 6-3) and, since June 1994, storage battery manufacturers have been requested by both the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry to ensure the proper disposal of used batteries as "items requiring proper handling" (article 19-2, "business owners can be required to take necessary measures.")

Details of the request

The requirement calls for necessary measures to be taken to ensure the proper disposal of waste (article 19-2 of the law).

  • Regarding lead acid batteries for cars and motorcycles efforts must be made to collect and dispose of them, to expand routes for collection, and to advertise that such batteries can be traded in for free at stores and other such sales outlets.
  • Stores must be notified that the batteries will be picked up for free by member companies of the Battery Association of Japan (BAJ). (March 1994, Ministry of Health and Welfare, environmental health bureau ordinance 244) (June 1994, Ministry of International Trade and Industry, machinery and information industries bureau ordinance 203)

Basic BAJ policy

  • To meet this official requirement, battery manufacturers issued notification in March 1994 that stores and other such sales outlets would accept used storage batteries free of charge, and in October 1994 announced the recycle program. As storage battery manufacturers worked to establish the infrastructure necessary for recycling, recycling operations were put into place.
  • Storage battery manufacturers established a policy of "acting as the primary party responsible for the collection of used car batteries, and actively promoting the collection of batteries, collecting the number of batteries corresponding to sales numbers, and purchasing recycled lead to correspond to the amount collected." They introduced the "trade-in system" for proper battery disposal and are expanding recycling activities. (In the above text, "car batteries" includes lead-acid storage batteries for two-wheeled vehicles.)

Storage battery manufacturers collect and recycle used car batteries through the trade-in system.

Under the direction of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, the BAJ ensures the proper disposal of used car batteries through the adoption of the trade-in system, a system in which storage battery manufacturers act also as waste discharge organizations, using reverse distribution to collect used car batteries accepted at stores for free from end users.

■ What is the trade-in system for storage battery manufacturers acting as waste discharge organizations?
The trade-in system is a recycling system in which storage-battery manufacturers are also waste discharge organizations and use reverse distribution to collect and dispose of used car batteries traded in by the general public free of charge.

Flow chart for the trade-in recycling system in which lead-acid storage battery manufacturers are the waste discharge organizations

What are cooperative recycling stores?

Stores that support the lead recycling program proposed by the BAJ in October 1994, and those of car and motorcycle batteries, particularly those who agreed to cooperate in receiving used batteries from general users for free.

Cooperative recycling stores display this sticker.

What are dispatch points?

  • Recycling stores that can receive more than a pre-determined number of trade-in car batteries from general users, as prescribed by the battery manufacturers.
  • When the dispatch point has collected a pre-determined number of trade-in batteries, they contact a participating battery manufacturer, who arranges a contracted transportation company to come and pick up the batteries.

Stores other than dispatch points should return the used car batteries for free to their wholesaler, sales agent, or representative agency at the time they reorder new products. (Permission of the collection and transportation business of the wholesalers, sales agent or representative agency is not necessary.*)

* Accepting trade-ins and collecting and transporting used batteries for free as a business practice when selling new products does not require permission to collect or transport. This is written in paragraph 10. Other (2), in the September 29, 2000, Ministry of Health, and Welfare, Environmental Health Bureau, Industrial Waste Division notice 79, entitled "Industrial waste processing operation and specially controlled industrial waste treatment and industrial waste processing facilities approval administration." Here, the law allows trade-ins.

Processing used car batteries in accordance with the law

  1. Storage-battery manufacturers must conclude contracts with qualified companies for collecting, transporting and disposing of the used car batteries collected through trade-ins.
  2. A job manifest that can be used to track proper disposal must be issued and used.