EU may struggle to hit battery collection goals

EU may struggle to hit battery collection goal

By Bobby Elliott, E-Scrap News

A new study released by the European Portable Battery Association (EPBA) indicates that many European Union member countries may fall short of their 2016 portable battery collection goal of 45 percent.

According to the study, the EU as a whole managed to recycle 32 percent of portable batteries entering the waste stream in 2011. In 2012, that rate is expected to increase to 35 percent, leaving four years for all member states to raise their individual collection rates to the 45 percent benchmark set by the 2006 Batteries Directive.

The EPBA defines portable batteries as "neither an industrial nor automotive battery."

While eight countries have already surpassed collection rates of 45 percent, the EPBA anticipates "only a dozen countries are likely to achieve the 2016 collection target." Three countries – Cyprus, Malta and Romania – are expected to report collection rates below 25 percent in 2012. Under the directive, all member countries were to reach a minimum collection rate of 25 percent by 2012.

To ensure that member countries reach their 2016 goal while limiting potential loopholes, the EPBA has advised the EU to consider clarifying the definition of portable batteries to potentially exclude lead-acid batteries. According to the study, several countries, including the U.K., may have achieved inflated collection rates through the overwhelming collection of lead-acid batteries originating from the industrial market.

In addition, the EPBA is calling on member countries to actively improve upon their recycling programs to better handle end-of-life and discarded portable batteries. For those countries derogated under the WEEE directive, the EPBA has also asked the EU to consider lowering their 2016 collection targets for portable batteries.

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