There are six main types of non-rechargeable batteries (primary batteries):  Zinc, Alkaline, Button alkaline, Silver zinc , Button zinc, Lithium ion, and eleven types of rechargeable batteries (secondary batteries):

Nickel-cadmium, NiMH (Nickel metal Hydride), Lithium, Lithium-Ion Polymer , Alkaline, chargeable Titanium,  Lead SLI, Lead traction, Lead stationary, Nickel-iron, Nickel-zinc.

Due to the wide range of batteries that exist and the varying component metals of which they are made, there are specific recycling processes for each battery type. Before recycling can take place the first step is to sort the batteries into groups by type. Where batteries are not collected separately they enter the municipal waste stream and are either landfilled or incinerated.


Member States are not required to report on collection rates until the fifth full year after the Batteries and Accumulators Directive comes into force.

Thus the only data currently available is on waste generation, and comes from the Waste Statistics Regulation.

Total waste generation is mainly a factor of the size of the Member State. To compare trends between Member States the data is also presented in terms of kg per inhabitant (this takes the size of the country into consideration).

 Generation of Batteries and accumulator wastes (WStatR), in kg per inhabitant and tonnes


The Batteries and Accumulators Directive requires the following targets to be met:

  • a 25% collection rate for waste portable batteries to be met by September 2012, rising to 45% by September 2016;
  • a prohibition on the disposal by landfill or incineration of waste industrial and automotive batteries  in effect setting a 100% collection and recycling target; and
  • the setting of recycling efficiencies to ensure that a high proportion of the weight of waste batteries is recycled (65% of lead acid batteries, 75% of nickel-cadmium batteries and 50% of other waste batteries).

Useful addresses

Environment DG: Batteries