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HSC Sec 25215-25215.5 Management of Lead Acid Batteries
HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE
25215. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) There are currently 24 million motor vehicles registered in
this state and each contains a lead acid battery for starting,
lighting, and ignition applications.
(b) An estimated 8 million used lead acid batteries are generated
and replaced in this state each year. The average lead acid battery
contains 17.5 pounds of lead, 1.5 gallons of sulfuric acid, and 1.6
pounds of polypropylene.
(c) There has existed an efficient and comprehensive recycling
process whereby used lead acid batteries are returned by the consumer
to the lead acid battery retailer when a new lead acid battery is
purchased by the consumer, often involving an "exchange" discount.
These returned lead batteries are then picked up and eventually
transported to secondary lead smelters who then reclaim the lead and
polypropylene for use in new batteries and other products and
neutralize the sulfuric acid.
(d) This lead acid battery recycling process is losing its
comprehensive nature and, in recent years, an estimated 30 percent of
all used lead acid batteries nationwide are not finding their way
into the recycling process. In California, this gap translates into
2.4 million used lead acid batteries escaping the recycling process
(e) The decline in the lead acid battery recycling process is due
to a combination of depressed lead prices, higher operating costs,
and an erosion in the exchange process between the consumer and
retailer of lead acid batteries. Increasing numbers of consumers are
not returning their old lead acid batteries when purchasing new ones
and increasing numbers of distributors and retailers are not
accepting used lead acid batteries.
(f) While there are no data on where these batteries are going, it
is very likely that they are being stored indefinitely in private
garages, or disposed of in municipal sanitary landfills, on
roadsides, in ditches, under bridges, in bodies of water, and at
(g) These 2.4 million unrecycled lead acid batteries are not being
disposed of properly and represent the introduction of 210,000 tons
of lead, 3 million gallons of sulfuric acid, and 3.2 million pounds
of polypropylene, all hazardous waste, into the environment each
(h) The introduction of these volumes of hazardous waste poses a
significant and unacceptable risk to the public health and safety and
steps need to be taken to attain the renewed viability of the lead
acid battery recycling process.
(i) If consumers and retailers were encouraged to return and
collect these used lead acid batteries for the recycling process, a
major source of hazardous waste that is presently being disposed of
improperly could be successfully eliminated.
25215.1. For purposes of this article, the following definitions
(a) "Consumer" means every person who, for his or her use or
consumption, purchases a lead acid battery.
(b) "Dealer" means every person who engages in the sale of lead
acid batteries directly to consumers.
(c) "Lead acid battery" means any battery which is primarily
composed of both lead and sulfuric acid, with a capacity of six volts
or more, and which is used for any of the following purposes:
(1) As a starting battery which is designed to deliver a high
burst of energy necessary to crank an engine until it starts.
(2) As a motive power battery which is designed to provide the
sources of power for propulsion or operation.
(3) As a stationary standby battery which is designed to be used
in systems where the battery acts as a source of emergency power,
serving as a backup in case of failure or interruption in the flow of
power from the primary source.
25215.2. (a) Except as provided in subdivision (b), no person shall
dispose, or attempt to dispose, of a lead acid battery at a solid
waste facility, or on or in any land, surface waters, watercourses,
or marine waters.
(b) A person may dispose of a lead acid battery at any of the
(1) A facility established and operated for the purpose of
recycling, or providing for the eventual recycling of, lead acid
batteries, including a facility located at a solid waste facility.
(2) An establishment which is a dealer pursuant to Section
(c) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1989.
25215.3. (a) A dealer shall accept, when offered at the point of
transfer, a lead acid battery from a consumer in exchange for the new
lead acid battery purchased by that consumer from the dealer.
(b) This section shall become operative on January 1, 1989.
25215.4. The department shall, within 30 days after the effective
date of the act enacting this section, notify all manufacturers of
lead acid batteries sold by dealers to consumers in this state of the
requirements set forth in Section 25215.2, 25215.3, and 25215.5.
25215.5. Each manufacturer of lead acid batteries sold by dealers
to consumers in this state shall, within 60 days after the effective
date of the act enacting this section, notify the distributors,
wholesalers, and dealers of the lead acid batteries it manufactures
of the requirements set forth in Sections 25215.2 and 25215.3.