The Commission proposed a new Batteries Regulation (with Annexes) on 10 December 2020. This Regulation aims to ensure that batteries placed in the EU market are sustainable and safe throughout their entire life cycle.
Press release: Green Deal: Sustainable batteries for a circular and climate neutral economy.
Batteries and accumulators play an essential role to ensure that many daily-used products, appliances and services work properly, constituting an indispensable energy source in our society. Every year, approximately 800.000 tons of automotive batteries, 190.000 tons of industrial batteries, and 160.000 tons of consumer batteries enter the European Union.
Not all these batteries are properly collected and recycled at the end of their life, which increases the risk of releasing hazardous substances and constitutes a waste of resources. Many of the components of these batteries and accumulators could be recycled, avoiding the release of hazardous substances to the environment and, in addition, providing valuable materials to important products and production processes in Europe.
The EU legislation on waste batteries is embodied in the Batteries Directive. It intends to contribute to the protection, preservation and improvement of the quality of the environment by minimising the negative impact of batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators. It also ensures the smooth functioning of the internal market by harmonising requirements as regards the placing on the market of batteries and accumulators. With some exceptions, it applies to all batteries and accumulators, no matter their chemical nature, size or design.
To achieve these objectives, the Directive prohibits the marketing of batteries containing some hazardous substances, defines measures to establish schemes aiming at high level of collection and recycling, and fixes targets for collection and recycling activities. The Directive also sets out provisions on labelling of batteries and their removability from equipment.
It also aims to improve the environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of batteries and accumulators, e.g. producers, distributors and end-users and, in particular, those operators directly involved in the treatment and recycling of waste batteries and accumulators. Producers of batteries and accumulators and producers of other products incorporating a battery or accumulator are given responsibility for the waste management of batteries and accumulators that they place on the market.
The Batteries Directive was adopted in 2006 and has been subject to a number of revisions. Last amendments were incorporated in 2013. The consolidated version of the Directive is presented below
- Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 September 2006 on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and repealing Directive 91/157/EEC. Consolidated version.
- Overview of EU Waste Legislation on Batteries and Accumulators
- Frequently Asked Questions on Directive 2006/66/EU on Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators (May 2014).
The Batteries Directive requires that the European Commission, assisted by Member States, develops in detail some of its provisions on, e.g. labelling or reporting. The Decisions and Regulations adopted in this context are listed below,
- Commission Decision 2008/763/EC establishing, pursuant to Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, a common methodology for the calculation of annual sales of portable batteries and accumulators to end-users
- Commission Decision 2009/851/EC establishing a questionnaire for Member States reports on the implementation of Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 1103/2010 establishing, pursuant to Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, rules as regards capacity labelling of portable secondary (rechargeable) and automotive batteries and accumulators
- Commission Regulation (EU) No 493/2012 of 11 June 2012 laying down, pursuant to Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, detailed rules regarding the calculation of recycling efficiencies of the recycling processes of waste batteries and accumulators.
Evaluation of the EU Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators (the Batteries Directive)
The Commission has completed the evaluation of the Batteries Directive, the only piece of EU legislation entirely dedicated to batteries. The evaluation report of the Batteries Directive has been published on the 9 of April 2019.
The results of the evaluation have been used to prepare the Commission report on the implementation and on the impact on the environment and the functioning of the internal market of the Batteries Directive.
The evaluation is part of a process that could lead to the directive’s revision. It has taken account of the increased use of batteries, due to the diversification of communication technologies or the growing demand for renewable energies. The initiative for a ‘European Batteries Alliance’ (EBA) that aims to ensure a whole value chain for the manufacturing of advanced cells and batteries within the EU is also part of the new policy context.
While the evaluation has adopted a broad perspective, some points have received particular attention, namely the management of hazardous substances in batteries, the collection and recycling of waste batteries or the directive’s capability to keep pace with technological change. Enabling measures, like those on labelling and information, have also been looked at.
The evaluation concludes that the directive has delivered positive results in terms of a better environment, the promotion of recycling and better functioning of the internal market for batteries and recycled materials.
Observed limitations in some legal provisions or their implementation prevent the directive from fully delivering on its objectives. This is particularly true as regards the collection of waste batteries or the efficiency in the recovery of materials.
The evaluation has pointed out how the absence of a mechanism to incorporate technological novelties and new usages makes it difficult to ensure that the directive keeps pace with technological developments.
The evaluation has been carried out following the Better Regulation Guidelines of the European Commission. The process has involved significant participation of stakeholders, which were consulted or invited to submit their ideas and views and provide information. A public consultation has been held since the 6 September 2017 until the 28 November 2017. Representatives of the Member States and stakeholders participated in a meeting of the Expert Group on Waste (Batteries), the 14 of March 2018, where the initial findings of the Study in Support of the Evaluation were presented.
- Commission Staff Working Document on the evaluation of the Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and repealing Directive 91/157/EEC
- Commission report on the implementation and on the impact on the environment and the functioning of the internal market of the Batteries Directive.
- Study in Support of the Evaluation of the Batteries Directive
- Study in support of the preparation of the Implementation report on Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators
- Detailed analysis of the answers to the public consultation
- Evaluation Roadmap
- Consultation Strategy for the evaluation of the Batteries Directive
- Report of the Commission on the implementation and the impact on the environment and the functioning of the internal market of Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and repealing Directive 91/157/EEC, COM(2019)166.
- Report on the availability of mercury-free button cells for hearing aids, in accordance with Article 4.4 of Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators and repealing Directive 91/157/EEC, COM(2014)632 (not published in the Official Journal)
- Commission report of 2 December 2010 on the exemption from the ban on cadmium granted for portable batteries and accumulators intended for use in cordless power tools [COM(2010) 698 final - Not published in the Official Journal]
Meetings of the Technical Adaptation Committee
For the implementation of the Batteries Directive, the European Commission is assisted by a Committee, composed by representatives designated by Member States. The list below gives access to the minutes of the meeting of the Committee.
Disclaimer: Please note that studies carried out for the European Commission contain the results of research by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.
- Final report of the study "Implementation Report for the Directive 2006/66/EC on Batteries and Accumulators", July 2015 (pdf~2.2Mb).
- CENELEC Feasibility Study on "Labelling and Efficiency of Primary Batteries," November 2012 (pdf~948Kb)
- Final report of the study on "Comparative Life-Cycle Assessment of nickel-cadmium (NiCd) batteries used in Cordless Power Tools (CPTs) vs. their alternatives nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries", December 2011 (pdf~13,5Mb).
- Final report of the study on "Elements for an impact assessment on proposed options for capacity labelling of portable primary (non-rechargeable) batteries in the context of the Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC", June 2010 (pdf~3,3Mb).
- Final report of the study on "exemption for the use of cadmium in portable batteries and accumulators intended for the use in cordless power tools in the context of the Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC," January 2010 (pdf~2,7Mb).
- Final report, of the study on the "calculation of recycling efficiencies and implementation of export article (Art. 15) of the Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC," (pdf~2,8Mb), May 2009.
- Final report of the study establishing "harmonised methods to determine the capacity of all portable and automotive batteries and rules for the use of the label indicating the capacity of these batteries" by Bio Intelligence (pdf~3Mb), September, 2008, Executive summary (pdf~150), Summary table (pdf~88Kb).
- Bio Intelligence "Impact Assessment on Selected Policy Options for Revision of the Battery Directive" (pdf~180K), July 2003.
- Substitution of Rechargeable NiCd Batteries, August 2000, executive summary, final report, appendix 1, appendix 2 , appendix 3 , appendix 4.