At the end of August 2022, the California Legislature passed AB 2440 and SB 1215, overhauling the state’s existing battery extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes and expanding the state’s e-waste program. AB 2440, the Responsible Battery Act of 2022, sunsets the existing Cell Phone Recycling Act of 2004 and the Rechargeable Battery Act of 2006, creating a singular EPR program for batteries within the state. SB 1215 expands the Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 (EWRA) to include battery-embedded products and broadens the EWRA’s definition of manufacturers.

Unlike most state battery EPR laws, these laws apply to all battery chemistries, including widely used lithium ion batteries. Governor Newsom has until September 30, 2022, to either sign or veto these bills. If Governor Newsom does not sign or veto the bills, they become law on October 1st.

Key Takeaways:

  • AB 2440
    • What is Happening? A new battery EPR scheme will require battery producers to create or fund stewardship programs for collecting and recycling most batteries sold within California, beginning no later than April 1, 2027.
    • Who is Impacted? “Producers” of single-use and rechargeable batteries sold or offered for sale within California. This does not include batteries over a certain weight or batteries contained in medical devices, cars, or bicycles. It applies only to battery producers, not to manufacturers of devices that contain embedded batteries (which are covered under SB1215), except to the extent that those manufacturers are also battery “producers.”
    • What Should I do? Impacted battery producers should evaluate the new collection and recycling requirements imposed by the new bill. Manufacturers selling products with loose or easily removed batteries should begin to review their supply chain and ensure their battery suppliers are prepared to comply with the new requirements.
  • SB 1215
    • What is Happening? The newly passed bill expands the EWRA to cover battery-embedded products, requiring consumers to pay a fee at the point of sale for any new or refurbished product with an embedded battery. The bill also expands the reporting requirements for manufacturers of all covered electronic devices. The point-of-sale fee will take effect beginning January 1, 2026, while the new reporting requirements will take effect beginning July 1, 2027.
    • Who is Impacted? Manufacturers and retailers of battery-embedded devices or video display devices.
    • What Should I do? Manufacturers of covered electronics should review the new CalRecycle reporting requirements and review new requirements on providing notice to retailers of the contents of their products. Retailers of covered electronics should ensure that they are complying with any new collection requirements and acquaint themselves with new notice and sale requirements.
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Author: The National Law Review