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Belgium introduces environmental tax on solar batteries

Belgium has introduced an environmental contribution for the home battery as of 1 January 2022. That disposal contribution should cover the costs of recycling home batteries at the end of their service life.

Producers, importers or installers who place batteries on the Belgian market must comply with the legal acceptance obligation.

​Bebat was founded in 1995 by battery manufacturers as a non-profit association to ensure that companies can comply with their legal acceptance obligation. The association has collected billions of batteries through a national collection network in Belgium over the past 25 years, from small AA batteries to large batteries from electric cars.

By now introducing an environmental contribution per kilogram for home batteries, Bebat removes concerns about future processing costs. Bebat participants pay the disposal fee at the time the battery comes onto the market and therefore not in the event of return in the future.

Until recently, for (home)batteries above 20 kilograms, there was an administrative contribution of 0.057 euros per battery. It covered the costs of prevention, awareness raising, communication and reporting, but not the costs of collection, decommissioning and recycling. For this, companies could conclude an individual tailor-made agreement with Bebat and create commissions for future costs via a so-called ‘pay-as-you-collect’system. The new regulation will abolish the old system of administrative contributions and individual agreements, to make way for an environmental contribution as is the case for batteries weighing less than 20 kilograms.

The environmental contribution is introduced for energy storage batteries weighing up to 200 kilograms that are linked to a decentralised energy production plant for electricity, regardless of where they are installed. These are’ home batteries ‘ based on lithium-ion or saltwater. Batteries that have backup purposes as their main function, the so-called UPS batteries, are not included. In addition, for home batteries based on lead, the administrative contribution continues to apply.

The rates are 2.39 euros per kilogram excluding VAT for lithium-ion energy storage systems and 1.27 euros per kilogram excluding VAT for saltwater energy storage systems

According to Bebat, the demand for an environmental contribution for home batteries came from the sector itself. ‘So far there has been no single regulation for the repossession of waste home batteries, resulting in difficult situations on the market’, Bebat said in a statement. ‘A company that was prepared for the future and already passed on the processing and recycling costs to the end customer had a competitive disadvantage compared to companies that did not think so ahead. The latter will be in trouble in the future, when they are confronted with processing costs that they have never passed on to the customer in the event of mandatory battery repossession. There was also a risk that companies would have to take back not only the self-sold batteries, but also those of other players who are no longer active at that time.’

The changes will apply from 1 January 2022 to sales between manufacturers, importers and wholesalers and retailers. A transitional phase is foreseen until 1 april 2022 at the latest for sales to consumers.

As a result, existing stocks of home batteries that were put on the market before January 1, 2022, can be sold to consumers for another 3 months to the 2021 contributions.

As of January 1, 2022, you are required as a participant to submit a monthly declaration for all home batteries that you bring to the market.

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