This guide is based on UK law. It was last reviewed in August 2011.
The Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 and the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 transpose the Batteries Directive (14-page / 407KB PDF) into English law.
The 2008 Regulations prohibit the placing on the market in the European Economic Area of batteries containing more than the permitted maximum amounts of mercury and cadmium, as well as setting out labelling requirements. They run very much in parallel with the ROHS Regulations (see: The RoHS Regulations: a brief introduction, an Out-Law guide).
The 2009 Regulations aim to make producers of batteries responsible for the cost of collection, treatment, recycling and disposal through recognised compliance schemes.
The 2008 and 2009 Regulations apply to portable batteries in items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, as well as industrial and automotive batteries. The same considerations that apply to the WEEE and ROHS Regulations are relevant, consideration will need to be given to the design requirements of batteries as well as the costs at the end of their, or the product's life.