Consumers may be required to pay deposits on batteries under a scheme to promote recycling. A deposit of two to three fen (about two HK cents) for each battery would be refunded when they were returned for recycling, according to officials from the State Economic and Trade Commission. The requirement is aimed at tackling toxic waste. China produces more than 18 billion batteries a year - about 30 per cent of global production - with household consumers accounting for about eight billion, the People's Daily reported. 'We hope that these measures, which are based on the polluter-pays principle, will help encourage the proper disposal of used batteries,' said an official from the agency's resource conservation unit. Another possible measure would require battery manufacturers to pay a fee to environmental agencies for collecting and recycling used batteries. However, the official said it was not known when the law would be enacted. Details such as who will be responsible for refunding deposits and collecting batteries are still being discussed. Only two per cent of batteries used in the domestic market are recycled, the People's Daily reported. The unrecycled batteries, which contain highly toxic substances such as cadmium, nickel, lead and acid, are usually dumped into landfills, with toxins seeping into the water table. Cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have implemented battery recycling schemes, with recycling bins in shopping centres. But such measures have proved ineffective because of poor management and supervision.