Recycling of Batteries Promoted by European Commission

Since early 2000, European policy has targeted the prevention of waste from consumers and recycling.

The framework for treatment and recycling requirements of waste batteries and accumulators is laid down in Directive 2006/66/EC. However, a precise description of the recycling goals and processes is set out in the new Regulation (EU) 493/2012, which defines how the ambitious goals of battery recycling will be achieved.

All waste batteries and accumulators, such as lead-acid and nickel-cadmium cells, must now be recycled. The recycling process does not include the steps involved in sorting or preparation of batteries for recycling, but is defined as the reprocessing operations carried out on waste batteries and accumulators. Only when the materials have ceased to be waste is the recycling process considered complete and the output fraction can be used for another purpose without any further treatment with the exception of energy recovery.

Directive 2006/66/EC defines the recycling efficiencies required as 75% for nickel-cadmium batteries calculated on their original weight and 50% for other waste batteries and accumulators, while Annex I of Regulation (EU) 493/2012 ( details the overall recycling process for waste batteries and accumulators with a method of calculation for the recycling efficiency.

Published in the Official Journal of the European Union on June 12, 2012, Regulation (EU) 493/2012 comes into force for recycling processes from January 1, 2014. Methods to calculate the efficiency of lead and cadmium battery recycling are explicitly defined in Annexes II and III of the Regulation and reporting templates are featured in Annexes IV, V, and VI that recyclers must use to inform the competent authorities of their Member State every year. The first of these reports will become due by April 30, 2015.

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