The revised directive aims to avoid the final disposal of batteries in the environment by enhancing collection and recycling. It also contains restrictions on the use of some heavy metals.
The key changes it introduces are:
· requirements governing the collection or take-back of all types of batteries and setting national collection targets for portable batteries. These require the collection of at least 25% of the portable batteries used annually in each Member State by 2012, rising to 45% by 2016.
· a requirement that all batteries collected must be recycled (with possible exemptions for portable hazardous batteries).
· restrictions on the use of mercury in all batteries and on the use of cadmium in portable batteries.
· a ban on the landfilling or incineration of automotive and industrial batteries.
· a requirement that recycling processes for different types of batteries must meet specified efficiency levels.
· a requirement that, in line with the principle of producer responsibility, battery producers have to finance the costs of the collection, treatment and recycling of waste batteries.
The introduction of the recycling efficiency levels is a novelty in EU waste legislation. These efficiency targets will encourage innovation and the introduction of more effective processes and technologies. They form part of the Lead Market Initiative launched by the Commission at the start of this year.
The Commission has clarified that batteries lawfully placed on the Community market before today do not have to be withdrawn from sale or relabelled in line with the new requirements.
Read the European Commission press release: