The European Parliament Committee on ‘the Internal Market and Consumer Protection’ (IMCO) voted recently on the draft opinion for a proposed regulation concerning batteries and waste batteries, repealing the Directive 2006/66/EC and amending Regulation (EU) No 2019/1020.
FEAD welcomes the compromise amendments adopted by IMCO and highlights the adoption of AM 97, 528 and 529 expanding Article 72 ‘supply chain due diligence schemes’ by adding the need for a Deposit Refund Scheme (DRS), that would ensure a safe and selective collection of batteries and accumulators. The scheme would divert batteries away from a wide variety of other waste and would help avoid fire risks in waste facilities. DRS is a strong tool to increase collection rates because it helps avoid material losses from waste management circuits.
Furthermore, high collection targets go hand in hand with mandatory deposit and return schemes in relation to batteries waste flows. This point is crucial, not only to achieve a high collection rate, which FEAD strongly calls for, but also to guarantee safe collection and treatment conditions for all battery-operated devices, and for other waste. Incorrectly disposed lithium batteries and accumulators pose a high risk of fire incidents everywhere, and not only in waste battery installations. When this arises, sorting systems for lightweight packaging, paper-collection, commercial waste processing, etc., can be considerably damaged by fires, and workers and other people from the wider community can be put under great risk. As a result, the purpose of making batteries more circular is weakened because processing and treatment facilities are damaged, sometimes beyond repair, reducing the overall capacity to recycle batteries. Consequently, mandatory DRS is essential if we are to: achieve high collection rates, safe battery flows, and safeguard treatment facilities.
FEAD President, Peter Kurth, notes, “This point is central for the circular economy and for critical waste flows such as batteries. The success of the ambitious recycling policy proposed by the new Regulation will depend on the safe collection and high tonnages of waste batteries. Mandatory Recycled Content in new batteries, as proposed by EC Commission, is key for triggering more investments in the recycling chain. In short, to effectively recycle batteries strong tools are needed to improve collection rates and strong pull measures are also needed to genuinely stimulate demand in recyclates.”