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Rechargeable Battery Recycling

NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation

The NYS Rechargeable Battery Recycling Act (PDF) (29 kb) (Article 27, Title 18 of the Environmental Conservation Law) was signed into law on December 10, 2010. The law requires manufacturers of covered rechargeable batteries to collect and recycle the batteries statewide in a manufacturer-funded program at no cost to consumers. Most rechargeable batteries contain toxic metals that can be released into the environment when improperly disposed. Consumers across the state will now be able to safely return to retailers rechargeable batteries, from a large number of electronic products, for recycling or proper management at the end of their useful life.

Which types of rechargeable batteries are covered by the new law?

  • - Nickel-cadmium
  • - Sealed lead
  • - Lithium ion
  • - Nickel metal hydride
  • - Any other such dry cell battery capable of being recharged
  • - Battery packs containing any of the above-mentioned batteries
    Please note: The law does not cover: any of the above-mentioned batteries/packs weighing 25 pounds or more; batteries used as the principal power source for a vehicle, such as an automobile, boat, truck, tractor, golf cart or wheelchair; batteries for storage of electricity generated by an alternative power source, such as solar or wind-driven generators; batteries for backup that is an integral component of an electronic device; or any non-rechargeable batteries such as common alkaline batteries.

    Who will be affected by the new law?

    • - Manufacturer of covered rechargeable batteries
    • - Retailers of covered rechargeable batteries that sell to NYS consumers
    • - NYS consumers of covered rechargeable batteries
    • - Manufacturer Responsibilities
      Under the new law, manufacturers of covered rechargeable batteries or groups of collaborating manufacturers will be responsible for financing the collection and recycling of the batteries, advertising their program to consumers, and reporting on the progress of their programs. Manufacturers are required to submit a collection and recycling plan to the Department by March 10, 2011. For more information and additional requirements for manufacturers, please review Section 27-1807.2 of the law.

      Retailer Responsibilities

      Beginning June 8, 2011, retailers that sell covered rechargeable batteries will be required to accept used rechargeable batteries from consumers during normal business hours and will need to post signs informing consumers about these requirements. A retailer shall accept up to ten batteries per day from any person regardless of whether such person purchases replacement batteries or shall accept as many such batteries as a consumer purchases from the retailer. For more information and additional requirements for retailers, please review Section 27-1807.1 of the law. 

      Consumer Responsibilities

      Consumers should make every effort to responsibly recycle their used rechargeable batteries as improper disposal will be prohibited by a disposal ban.

      Disposal Ban

      Beginning December 5, 2011, no "person" (as defined in Subdivision 1-0303(18) of the Environmental Conservation Law available on the right side of this page under "Links Leaving DEC's Website") shall knowingly dispose of covered rechargeable batteries as solid waste at any time in the state.

      What is the Department's role under the new law?

      The Department will be responsible for oversight of the program including reviewing and approving manufacturer collection plans. In addition, the Department will be responsible for enforcement, analysis of information provided by rechargeable battery manufacturers, and submitting a report to the governor and legislature biennially.

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