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23 July 2024
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Batteries & accumulators

The Directive

This directive, "Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators Directive" (2006/66/EC) seeks to further reduce the impact on the environment by limiting the use of hazardous substances in the manufacture of batteries and accumulators, and by implementing measures and targets for the collection and recycling of waste batteries and accumulators at the end of their normal life.

The directive which repeals the original batteries directive (91/157/EC) and was transposed into UK law by "The Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulation" (SI 2008/2164) from the 26 September 2008, applies to all types of portable batteries (rechargeable and non rechargeable including button cells) as well as industrial and automotive batteries.

The need to review the directive stems from the failure of 91/157/EC to adequately promote the control of the risks to the environment by batteries in the waste stream, because many were still going to landfill or incineration instead of the environmentally friendlier option of recycling. There was also a need to create a homogeneous framework throughout the EC for the collection and recycling of all batteries.

In working towards achieving these objectives the directive sets collection targets for spent portable batteries of 25% by 2012 and 45% by 2016, the collection of industrial and automotive batteries is already close to 100%. Furthermore all collected batteries should be recycled by September 2009 with further recycling efficiencies of 65% for lead-acid batteries, 75% for nickel-cadmium batteries and 50% for other batteries by September 2011.

Whilst it is recognised that Lead, Mercury and Cadmium are serious contaminants to the environment, they have been classed as hazardous waste since 2000, all batteries and accumulators contain substances that can be harmful to the environment, landfill leads to leaching contamination and incineration causes air pollution. In fact the recycling of batteries and accumulators can result in many tons of re-usable metals being recovered, again a valuable contribution to protecting the environment.

In essence the directive seeks to:

  1. Restrict the use of harmful substances in the manufacture of batteries and accumulators, specifically mercury in all batteries and cadmium in portable batteries. There are exceptions relating to portable batteries, where they are specifically used in conjunction with emergency systems (including lighting and alarms), medical equipment and cordless power tools.

    There is a wider exception relating to the directive as a whole, ie. batteries used in equipment connected to the essential security interests of EEA states, and batteries used in equipment designed to be sent into space.

  2. Promote increased collection and recycling of spent batteries and accumulators by the setting of staged targets.

  3. Promote the labelling of batteries and accumulator by the use of the "wheelie bin" and chemical (Pb, Hg, Cd) symbols.

  4. Promote the design of equipment which facilitates the easy and safe removal of batteries at the end of their life, and also to provide documentation relating to this operation.

The full text of the directive can be viewed in English at:

and of the UK Statutory Regulations (SI 2008/2164) in English at:

Product Implications

As previously mentioned, the intent of this legislation is to improve the environmental impact of battery use, both by reducing the amount of potentially toxic materials used in the manufacturing process and by encouraging recycling of the material content of the product.

Canford will continue to promote environmental friendly issues by ensuring that only batteries and equipment that meet the directive’s essential requirements are supplied to our customers. This we will do with the cooperation of our suppliers of stocked items and our design team for Canford manufactured products.

Spent Batteries and Canford Customers

The UK government has now held two consultations with industry, and we eagerly await the final outcome. One issue still to be finalised is the infrastructure for the collection of batteries, however it is anticipated that there will be a network of collection points where end users will be able to deposit their spent portable batteries free of charge. We will of course keep our customers posted as developments occur.

EUP - Eco Design Requirements of Energy Using Products Directive (2005/32/EC)

This directive which became law in the EU in August 2005 and was transposed into member states law by August 2007 is aimed at setting up a framework for the eco-design requirements of products across the EU and bringing about improvements in the energy efficiency of a product throughout its lifecycle. As a "framework" directive it seeks to define the context within which implementing measures can be developed and targeted at particular groups of products, with the exception of means of transport the directive covers in principle any product which when in use depends on, generates, transfers or measures energy.

The criteria applicable, for an implementing measures to be put in place for a product, are that the product must:

  1. sell a minimum of 200,000 units per year within the EU.
  2. have a significant environmental impact.
  3. present significant potential for improvement.

and the implementing measure must:

  1. not significantly affect a product’s price or performance.
  2. not significantly affect product competitiveness of EU industry.

The first implementing measure came into force in January 2009.

The full text of the directive can be viewed in English at: