Eucobat, the association that represents Europe’s most important battery recycling collection systems, has once again called on the European Commission for new collection target calculation criteria for this type of waste. The request comes in the lead-up to the new EU draft legislation on used batteries, expected to be published at the end of the year. At its general assembly this week, which was attended by Ecopilas, the Spanish used battery management system. Eucobat also warned that the fact that the new legislation would finally take the form of a Regulation rather than a Directive, as originally envisaged, would hamper its adaptation to the real situation in each Member State.
According to Eucobat, the mandatory collection target should be based on the quantity of waste available for collection and not on the average quantity of batteries placed on the market in the preceding three years, as set out in the current Directive, which has been in force since 2006 and is now under review. According to the association, the latter calculation criteria is not coherent with the reality of this market, because most batteries sold in Europe are not disposed of within three years from the date they are placed on the market.
Eucobat points out that the new criteria should take account of other factors, such as the service life of batteries (approximately 5.2 years) and the estimated quantity of this waste that does not arrive at collection points, including batteries stored in homes, batteries disposed of incorrectly or batteries used in unmanaged waste electronic equipment or e-waste exported to countries outside the EU.
The general assembly of Eucobat, of which Ecopilas is a founding member, also featured discussion of other issues affecting the sector, such as the impact of the health crisis on achieving this year’s target (50% of batteries placed on the market), given the close relationship between the crisis and consumption trends.
European Battery Recycling Week
At the general assembly, Eucobat members also reviewed European Battery Recycling Week, held from September 7 to 13, in which Spain was represented by Ecopilas. This initiative, first held in 2015, seeks to raise awareness amongst European consumers of the importance of depositing used batteries in the appropriate containers to facilitate not just correct management of the waste, but also the recovery of reusable materials.
Although the health situation this year hindered Ecopilas’ special collection campaigns and the distribution of domestic battery collection units traditionally associated with European Battery Recycling Week, the environmental foundation availed of the event to step up information and awareness activities on social media and other communications channels.
The 20 collection systems from 16 countries affiliated to Eucobat represent 17,000 producers and importers of batteries, and they have a combined network of over 400,000 collection points deployed throughout Europe.