New study assesses waste battery collection rates across EU Member States
The European Portable Battery Association (EPBA) has published a study investigating mandatory waste collection rates for portable primary and rechargeable batteries in EU Member States, plus Norway and Switzerland. The industry intends to use the study as a basis for discussions with the European Commission, Member State Governments, their agencies and other stakeholders to highlight the limitations of the current regulations and practices and suggest improvements. Read more…
The European Commission has defined several specific waste streams for priority attention, the aim being to reduce their overall environmental impact, and this includes batteries. The collection of used portable primary and rechargeable batteries in Europe is mandated by Directive 2006/66/EC, which requires Member States to achieve a collection rate of 45% by 2016. The EPBA is the leading organisation representing the interests of primary rechargeable battery manufacturers, industries using portable batteries in their products and distributors of portable batteries active within the European Union.
The EPBA study uses research published by collection organisations and national authorities to evaluate stated collection rates. It concludes that the Directive’s overarching objective - that collection networks for all portable batteries are available or are in the process of becoming available in all Member States - has been largely achieved. However, it raises concerns about the collection rate as a measure of scheme performance. Specifically, it says that collection volumes in some Member States may be inflated due to inaccurate definitions of ‘portable’ batteries. In addition, some batteries are classified as waste in a different country to the one in which they were placed on the market.
The report says the most significant challenge in ensuring that reported collection rates are relevant, is improving the distinction between portable and industrial batteries. It says that in some countries there is a disproportionate amount of lead batteries in waste portable battery collection volumes and calls for clarification of the term ‘portable battery’ at European Union level. Another option put forward is to exclude lead batteries from the calculation methodology of the collection rate, or to require recycling efficiencies to be reported separately for each battery type.
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