The European Parliament on 13 December voted for lower collection targets for spent batteries, bringing them down from 60% to 45% over a ten-year period. MEPs seem to have followed advice from leading centre-right EPP-ED group members who called for targets to be set at a more realistic level.
"Let us be frank about this. Austria has achieved 40% collection after 14 years. The report now calls for higher EU targets: 40% after 6 years and 60 % after 10 years. These targets are unrealistic," Caroline Jackson MEP (EPP-ED, UK) told her colleagues in Plenary.
Under the text voted on by Parliament, collection of spent batteries and accumulators are set at 25% six years after the directive comes into force and 45% after 10 years.
Limited bans on heavy metals which contaminate the environment when dumped in landfills were also agreed:
- 0.0005% of mercury by weight for all batteries
- 0.002% of cadmium by weight for portable batteries with the following exceptions: emergency and alarm systems, medical equipment, cordless power tools
In line with the Commission's initial proposal, MEPs confirmed that the responsibility for financing the collection, treatment and recycling of spent batteries should lie with producers. The responsibility should also cover waste from batteries in use before the new directive comes into force, MEPs said. Member states have already agreed to the principle in their common position adopted in July.
The following targets for recycling heavy metals were agreed:
- 65% by average weight for lead-acid batteries (with closed loop for all lead contained)
- 75% by average weight for nickel-cadmium (with closed loop for all the cadmium contained)
- 55% by average weight for other waste batteries (up from 50% in the Council's common position in July this year)