Law N ° 5882/2017 of Integral Management of Batteries for Domestic Use came into force in March 2018, setting a much more extensive and detailed regulation than the previous one - Law N ° 3107 / 2006-. Like the previous one, the new law sets caps on the amounts of cadmium, lead and mercury that batteries can contain. In addition to this, it extends its scope of application to rechargeable batteries, determines new obligations for all involved, establishes sanctions and appoints new enforcement authorities. However, the relevant regulations have not yet been issued by the responsible institutions, which would replace the contrary provisions of Decree 4926/2010 and Resolution 970/2010 of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MIC).
While the previous law pointed to the MIC as the only enforcement authority, the current law extends the responsible authorities:
• The MIC remains in charge of ensuring compliance with the law in the import process, but must extend its intervention to manufacturing, assembly and marketing processes, in addition to working in coordination with the National Quality System Agency, implementing the Registry of Manufacturers, Assemblers and Importers of Batteries for Domestic Use - not yet implemented to date - and establishing a system of import licenses;
• The Secretariat of the Environment (SEAM) is in charge of establishing mechanisms for regulation, control, monitoring and oversight in terms of good management and protection of the environment, and it is responsible for preparing the Comprehensive Environmental Management Plan for Batteries – which is still pending despite the entry into force of the law- and the Registry of Operators for the processes of recycling, disposal and final disposal of batteries;
• The different Municipalities must put in place mechanisms for the transport, collection, treatment and final disposal of batteries in their districts.
The law also establishes new obligations for all those involved in the private sector, both for manufacturers, assemblers, importers and marketers - who must guarantee and certify that their batteries comply with the law, providing containers suitable for storing in points of sale, making batteries available to the municipalities, including mandatory warnings about the contamination caused by the products in advertising campaigns, registering with the MIC, among others-, as well as for the users -who should verify the good condition of the batteries at the time of purchase-, discard them only at the collection points and not manipulate the structure or dismantling batteries.
As the new law is in force, compliance is imperative despite not having the relevant regulations, especially taking into account that non-compliance entails sanctions ranging from fines (from fifty to a thousand daily minimum wages) to confiscation of products, cancellation of the registration, prohibition to commercialize batteries and a written warning. This requires that companies involved in the trade of batteries bear in mind those operating provisions of the law that are already applicable without the need for additional regulations.