EU Directive 2006/66/EC Battery Directive
The Directive on batteries and accumulators, known as the Battery Directive, is the current text in force regarding the manufacture and disposal of batteries in the European Union. Last amended in 2018, it aims at improving the protection, preservation and quality of the environment.
The Directive mainly covers batteries containing hazardous elements such as mercury, cadmium or lead which, when incinerated or landfilled, present a risk to the environment and human health. It sets maximum quantities for certain types of metals and chemicals contained in batteries, and sets targets for waste battery collection rates, as well as financial liability for waste collection and management.
Article 12 and 13, as well as Annex II Part B, contain specific provisions on recycling, which set out a general framework and establish an obligation for Member States to report on the levels of recycling achieved each year. The annex details minimum recycling efficiencies depending on battery type, but does not mention an overall recycling target.
A new EU regulatory framework for batteries is currently under discussion. In December 2020, the European Commission proposed a new Batteries Regulation as an update to the Directive, with a particular emphasis on lithium-ion batteries. Discussions are under way between the Council of the EU, the Parliament and the European Commission, to find an agreement on the final text.
The proposed new Regulation sets out mandatory sustainability and safety requirements (e.g. carbon footprint rules, minimum recycled content, labelling and information) and end-of-life management obligations (e.g. producer responsibility, collection targets and obligations, recycling efficiency targets). For example, the Regulation will mandate disclosure of key sustainability metrics already reported on a voluntary basis under industry standards.
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