Council agrees on ban on cadmium in batteries
Publication date: 20 December 2004
The Council reached today a political agreement on the draft Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators (COM(2003) 723 - COD(2003) 0282). Belgium, Greece and Ireland indicated their intention to abstain and Italy stated that it was not in a position to vote in favour.
com2003_723_battery_directive.pdf (294 KB)
After finalisation in all Community languages, the text will be adopted in the form of a common position, without further debate, at a forthcoming Council meeting. The European Parliament then has to approve the Council's political agreement in second reading.
Concerning the main issues dealt with in the Council (nickel-cadmium batteries and collection targets), the agreement establishes:
– a partial ban on portable nickel-cadmium batteries that would not cover batteries used in:
(a) medical equipment;
(b) emergency lighting and alarm systems and
(c) cordless power tools.
However, the Commission would have to carry out an early review of the exemption for cordless power tools (within four years of entry into force of the Directive). As a consequence of the ban, there would be no waste stream monitoring requirements for Member States;
– collection targets for portable batteries set in two stages: 25% of average annual sales, to be achieved 4 years after the date of transposition, rising to 45% 8 years after the date of transposition;
– a 2-year transposition period for Member States in order to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive, of 2 years.
Environmental concerns related to batteries and accumulators are mainly due to the materials they contain. The main environmental impacts occur during the production and waste management phases. Reducing the quantities of hazardous substances in waste is one of the Community's environmental objectives.
Against this background, the draft Directive aims to achieve a high level of protection of health and environment, by:
– prohibiting the marketing of certain batteries and accumulators;
– imposing the separate collection of waste batteries and accumulators, thus significantly reducing the quantities of waste batteries going to disposal and reintroducing the highest possible level of metal wastes into the economic cycle.
As it will avoid divergences between Member States' legislation, the draft Directive would further ensure the proper functioning of the internal market and remove obstacles to the free movement of goods and to competition within the Community.
In order to prevent batteries and accumulators from ending up in the environment and to avoid consumer confusion about the different waste management requirements for different batteries, the draft Directive would cover all batteries and accumulators placed on the Community market.
The proposed Directive would repeal Directives 91/157/EEC, 91/101/EC and 93/86/EEC, replacing them with a single legal instrument.
Related News Items:
- Europe to halve Battery Waste (20 April 2004)
- MEPs call for strict recycling scheme for batteries EU-wide (6 April 2004)
- Proposal for a new Battery Directive published (25 November 2003)