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Battery Directive

Recycling Directive It is estimated that only 3% of disposable batteries are recycled following the correct processes.

In order to address these concerns, the EU introduced the Batteries Directive on 26 September 2006 (2006/66/EC), which comes into force in the UK on 28 September 2008.

The target set down by the Batteries Directive to recycle 25% of all batteries by 2012 does not go far enough to address the issues arising out of disposing alkaline batteries into landfill. However, given the current infrastructure for portable battery recycling in the UK, it does not appear that even the meagre 25% target is achievable.

Only 3% of batteries are recycled in the UK and there is barely any infrastructure for the collection of used batteries either by battery manufacturers, retailers or by local councils.


There is currently only one treatment plant for portable alkaline and zinc carbon batteries, based in the West Midlands. There are no UK facilities for recycling Nickel Cadmium (NiCd) batteries (used in power tools, emergency lighting), so NiCd batteries are collected in the UK and are exported for recycling to a plant in France. So there is a significant carbon cost in transporting batteries for recycling, given the paucity of facilities in the UK.

Schools and Local Authorities have already become involved in battery collection but this is not universal and only in some areas. Very few local authorities collect waste household batteries as part of multi-material collections Is recycling batteries completely eco-friendly? It takes six to ten times the amount of energy to reclaim materials from recycled batteres that it would through other means. The energy needed to make batteries is 50 times greater than the energy it gives out. The Directive seeks to improve the environmental performance of batteries all organizations involved in the life cycle of batteries and, in particular, those operators directly involved in the treatment and recycling of waste batteries.

When the Directive is transposed in the UK, the Directive will reduce the quantity of hazardous and non hazardous waste batteries going to landfill and increase the recovery of the materials they contain.

Its key terms in relation to portable batteries are as follows:

Battery Directive Leglisation and Consultation Links