Rules governing lithium-ion battery recycling

A combination of central and state-level regulations, industry standards and guidelines governs lithium-ion battery recycling in India. These rules have evolved to address the growing importance of sustainable battery management and the need to mitigate environmental and health hazards associated with improper disposal of lithium-ion batteries. This comprehensive blog will delve into the rules and regulations governing lithium-ion battery recycling in India.

Central Regulations

At the central level, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) plays a significant role in setting guidelines and regulations for lithium-ion battery recycling. One of the critical central regulations is the Hazardous & Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) (HOWM) Rules, 2016. These rules classify lithium-ion batteries as hazardous waste due to their potential to release toxic substances, and they provide guidelines for their safe handling, storage, and disposal.

Key provisions of the Hazardous and Other Wastes Rules relevant to lithium-ion battery recycling include:

Authorisation: Any entity involved in the collection, dismantling, recycling, or disposal of lithium-ion batteries must obtain authorisation from the State Pollution Control Board or SPCB or Pollution Control Committee (PCC).

Collection and Storage: Collection centres and recyclers must adhere to stringent norms for safe collection, transportation, and storage of lithium-ion batteries to prevent leakage and environmental contamination.

Dismantling and Recycling: Facilities engaged in the dismantling and recycling lithium-ion batteries must meet specific safety and environmental standards to minimise the release of hazardous substances.

Record-keeping: Entities involved in battery recycling must maintain records of the quantity and type of batteries received, processed, and disposed of, which they must submit to the regulatory authorities.

Export and Import: The transboundary movement of lithium-ion batteries and their components is subject to strict regulations, including the need for prior informed consent and adherence to international agreements.

State-Level Regulations:

In addition to central regulations, individual states in India may have their own rules and guidelines related to lithium-ion battery recycling. State Pollution Control Boards or SPCBs & Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) oversee the implementation of these rules. The particular requirements can vary from state to state but generally align with the central regulations mentioned above.

For instance, some states may require recycling facilities to obtain additional licenses or permits, conduct periodic environmental impact assessments, or adhere to specific emissions and effluent standards. State-level regulations often focus on enforcing compliance with central rules and ensuring that local conditions are considered.

3. E-waste Rules:

Lithium-ion batteries are often considered a subset of electronic waste (e-waste). India has established the E-Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2016, to regulate the disposal and recycling of electronic waste, which includes lithium-ion batteries. These rules require producers, consumers, and electronic waste recyclers, including batteries, to follow specific guidelines.

Key provisions of the E-waste Rules that are relevant to lithium-ion battery recycling include:

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) (Service - EPr for e-waste): Manufacturers and importers of lithium-ion batteries are obligated to manage the end-of-life disposal and recycling of their products through an EPR plan.

Collection Centers: E-waste collection centres must accept and safely manage lithium-ion batteries, ensuring they are not disposed of in landfills or incinerated.

Awareness and Training: Public awareness campaigns and training programs must be conducted to educate consumers, recyclers, and workers about the hazards of e-waste and the importance of recycling.

4. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS):

The Bureau of Indian Standards or BIS is liable for setting industry standards and specifications, including those related to lithium-ion battery recycling. BIS standards ensure the quality and safety of recycling processes, materials, and products. BIS standards cover collection, transportation, dismantling, recycling, and disposal procedures for lithium-ion batteries.

Compliance with BIS standards is often a prerequisite for obtaining authorisation from SPCBs or PCCs, as these standards help ensure that recycling operations are carried out with the highest safety and environmental responsibility.

5. Industry Guidelines:

Various industry associations and organisations also play a crucial role in shaping lithium-ion battery recycling practices in India. These organisations often develop the best rules and guidelines for safely handling and recycling batteries. For example, the Battery Association of India (BAI) promotes sustainable battery management practices, including recycling.

Industry guidelines help standardise recycling processes, improve worker safety, and reduce the environmental impact of battery recycling operations. They often complement existing regulations and standards, providing additional guidance to lithium-ion battery supply chain stakeholders.

6. International Agreements:

India is a signatory to international agreements and conventions on hazardous waste management and environmental protection. These agreements, like the Basel Convention (BC) on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes (HWs) and Their Disposal, influence India's regulations on lithium-ion battery recycling.

Under these agreements, India is committed to responsible waste management practices, including safely recycling hazardous waste like lithium-ion batteries. The transboundary movement of such waste is closely monitored to prevent illegal dumping or improper disposal in other countries.

7. Penalties and Enforcement:

Regulatory authorities at both the central and state levels can impose penalties on violators to ensure compliance with lithium-ion battery recycling regulations. Penalties may include fines, suspension or revocation of licenses or authorisations, and legal action against non-compliant entities.

Effective enforcement mechanisms are crucial to deter illegal disposal and encourage responsible recycling practices. Regulatory authorities conduct inspections and audits of recycling facilities to verify compliance with rules and standards.


Lithium-ion battery recycling in India is subject to a comprehensive framework of regulations, standards, and guidelines. These rules aim to protect the environment human health, and promote sustainable waste management practices. It is essential for all stakeholders, including battery manufacturers, recyclers, and consumers, to be aware of and adhere to these regulations to ensure the safe and responsible management of lithium-ion batteries throughout their lifecycle. As technology advances, these regulations may evolve to address emerging challenges and opportunities in battery recycling.

Diksha Khiatani

A writer by day and a reader at night. Emerging from an Engineering background, Diksha has completed her M. Tech in Computer Science field. Being passionate about writing, she started her career as a Writer. She finds it interesting and always grabs time to research and write about Environmental laws and compliances. With extensive knowledge on content writing, she has been delivering high-quality write-ups. Besides, you will often find her with a novel and a cuppa!

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