Legislation: The EU Battery Directive

In 2006 the EU introduced the EU Battery Directive (2006/66/EC), a set of rules concerning the waste management of batteries in EU states. The directive aims to maximize the separate collection and recycling of waste batteries and reduce the amount of toxic heavy metals entering the environment by:

  1. Requiring battery producers to finance collection and recycling schemes (or to utilize existing local schemes).
  2. Requiring that all collected portable, industrial and automotive batteries are recycled.
  3. Prohibiting the disposal in landfills and incineration of industrial and automotive batteries.
  4. Setting minimum recycling efficiency targets for specific battery types.
  5. Setting maximum limits for the amount of mercury and cadmium contained in batteries (with some exemptions).
  6. Requiring a crossed-out wheelie bin symbol to be marked on all portable batteries (or on the packaging for AAA size and smaller batteries), along with the chemical symbol for mercury (Hg), lead (Pb) or cadmium (Cd) if the amounts of these heavy metals exceed certain levels.