The battery thing, picked up by JuliaM and Leg-Iron (among others) is indeed another step in the all-encompassing state apparatus, another step down the road to the complete regulation of every aspect of your life. That’s not the only issue here though.
This is also another poke in the eye for the free market and competition, and another step towards the corporatist state. Big businesses become so not least through favours from the state like this. As Leg-Iron correctly stated in his comment at the JuliaM post, it is small businesses that will be hit hardest by this. Large companies like Tesco, Comet and B&Q that sell electrical goods are already under the WEEE scheme that forces the recycling of said goods. They are large companies with higher levels of staff at their sites able sort and process these things, and they are able to negotiate better contracts with the waste removal companies to take them away. The addition of batteries to the list of things that must be removed will hardly be noticed by the likes of Tesco.
Small independent shops on the other hand, especially mini-markets and corner shops who don’t generally deal with hazardous waste will suddenly have to do so. Unlike the large chains they don’t have the clout to negotiate good waste disposal contracts, and will have to pay the going rates. Most will probably decide to stop selling batteries as the extra costs will make it not worth the hassle.
It’s not a big step, granted, but they rarely are. Small baby steps so noone notices… And one day you wake up and all the shops are a Tesco Extra and won’t sell you wine if your daughter’s outside in the car.