The government has unveiled proposals to reduce some of the 700 million batteries that go into landfill each year.
Under a new EU directive, the UK will have to collect and recycle 25% of all household batteries sold by 2012, rising to 45% by 2016.
The proposals look at how to achieve this target, as well as various other measures including banning the sale of household batteries containing high levels of cadmium.
Ministers want batteries to have clearer labelling – including a ‘wheelie bin’ collection symbol – and say there should be a complete ban on disposing of car batteries in landfill.
Under the proposals retailers would also be responsible for to taking back waste household batteries at no charge to consumers.
Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said: ‘Christmas gifts – from toys to sat navs – opened in British households next week will contain millions of batteries.
‘Many of these will contribute to the 700 million batteries that go to UK landfill each year. This is clearly not good for the environment and that’s why we’ve signed up to these tough, but I believe achievable, targets.’
The government will consult on the proposals until March, 2008.