The EU has demanded that all member states set up battery recycling schemes for businesses and consumers.
The new rules order the setting up of public collection points where both consumers and businesses can drop off their used batteries for safe disposal or recycling.
The EU aims to recycle 25% of all batteries within four years of schemes being set up, rising to 45% in the four years thereafter.
At least 50% of all collected batteries have to be recycled. In addition, 75% of those containing cadmium have to be recycled, and 65% of those containing lead.
The legislation affects both battery makers and device manufacturers. Device manufacturers will have to make products that enable users to remove batteries easily for recycling.
Both device manufacturers and battery makers will be expected to pay for the recycling scheme.
France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden already have battery recycling schemes.
The UK government now has to put the EU directive into UK law to enable a battery recycling scheme to be set up. No timescale has so far been set by the government.