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Battery directive gets the go-ahead

Battery collection schemes for spent portable batteries and accumulators will need to be up and running by 2008, due to the approval of the Battery Directive given by the European Parliament last week.

The directive, passed after two years of negotiation, requires that all EU member states achieve minimum collection rates of 25% by 2012 and 45% by 2016. Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, and France already have schemes in place, with collection rates varying from 16% - 59%.

Collection schemes will have to be easily accessible to consumers, and distributors will have to take back used portable batteries at no cost to the consumer, and regardless of when the batteries were placed on the market.

Under the directive producers will also have to be registered and bear the net costs of information campaigns.

Green MEP Jean Lambert said: “Batteries cannot be recycled without a good collection scheme in place. It’s vital that we implement these immediately.”

Manufacturers will have to ensure appliances are designed so that spent batteries and accumulators can be easily removed. And as of 2009 battery labels indicating their real capacity and therefore life span, will also be required.

The targets set for recycling are 65% for lead-acid batteries, 75% for nickel-cadmium and 50% for others.

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