What is Battery Directive?

EU Directive 2006/66/EC on waste batteries and accumulators (the “battery directive”) is intended to minimize the impact of waste batteries and accumulators on the environment and on human health. Member states will have transposed this directive into national law by 26 September 2008.

The battery directive specifies that:

  • All types of waste batteries and accumulators must be collected separately for recycling.
  • Batteries and accumulators must be marked with the separate collection symbol.
  • Battery and accumulator markings must include symbols to indicate the presence of specific levels of certain toxic metals.
  • Product documentation must show the end user how to properly remove the battery or accumulator for recycling (when such removal is possible).
  • The end user must be advised of the hazards of improper disposal of the batteries and accumulators.

What do the markings mean?
Batteries and accumulators must be marked (either on the battery or accumulator or on its packaging, depending on size) with the separate collection symbol. In addition, the marking must include the chemical symbols of specific levels of toxic metals as follows:

  • Cadmium (Cd) over 0.002%
  • Lead (Pb) over 0.004%
  • Mercury (Hg) over 0.0005%

How do you remove the battery or accumulator?
Products that contain batteries or accumulators must be accompanied by instructions showing how they can be safely removed.

Not all batteries or accumulators can be removed by the end user. Consult the product information to determine whether or not you should attempt to remove batteries or accumulators.

If your product does not have the separate collection symbol, then it does not contain batteries or accumulators you need to remove.

The risks and your role in reducing them
Your participation is an important part of the effort to minimize the impact of batteries and accumulators on the environment and on human health. For proper recycling you can return this product or the batteries or accumulators it contains to your supplier or to a designated collection point.

Some batteries or accumulators contain toxic metals that pose serious risks to human health and to the environment. When required, the product marking includes chemical symbols that indicate the presence toxic metals: Pb for lead, Hg for mercury, and Cd for cadmium.

Cadmium poisoning can result in cancer of the lungs and prostate gland. Chronic effects include kidney damage, pulmonary emphysema, and bone diseases such as osteomalcia and osteoporosis. Cadmium may also cause anemia, discoloration of the teeth, and loss of smell (anosmia).

Lead is poisonous in all forms. It accumulates in the body, so each exposure is significant. Ingestion and inhalation of lead can cause severe damage to human health. Risks include brain damage, convulsions, malnutrition, and sterility.

Mercury creates hazardous vapors at room temperature. Exposure to high concentrations of mercury vapor can cause a variety of severe symptoms. Risks include chronic inflammation of mouth and gums, personality change, nervousness, fever, and rashes.

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