Battery disposal LAW

I bought a new battery yesterday, take away, non garage fit.
There was an additional 1 charge for old battery disposal even though they did not take my old battery off........the operative said it was the LAW.
They asked me to drop the old one off after fitting the new.
Is this true or BS.
ps I work next to a recycle centre where I could drop the battery off fer nowt.
dj
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