From Monday, September 9th to Sunday, September 15th, the European Battery Recycling Week will be celebrated in several European countries. This is an initiative of the members of Eucobat, the European association of national battery collection organizations in Europe.
Various local awareness campaigns will be conducted in the different countries throughout the week aiming to remind all European citizens of the importance of collecting, sorting and recycling of used batteries.
7,5 Eiffel Towers
Each day, the Eucobat members collect more than 10.000.000 (10 million) batteries. That is approximately 2.500.000.000 (2.5 billion) batteries per year. This totals 55.000 tons per year, or more than 75% of all portable batteries collected in Europe. The same as the weight of 7,5 Eiffel Towers.
All those batteries are first accurately sorted and then processed in various factories throughout Europe. There, they recover all valuable materials from the batteries, such as cobalt, nickel, rare earth metals, zinc, lithium, lead, manganese, and steel. All those materials are then processed into new products. These include spectacle frames, jewellery, forks, knives, gutters, and even batteries for electric cars and e-bikes.
European Batteries Directive
On the occasion of the review of the European Batteries Directive, Eucobat also wants to draw the attention of decision makers to important priorities. For example: any collection target can only be adequate if it is related to the quantities of waste available for collection. Only this way, it allows to measure the performance and the effectivity of the collection scheme.
In order to ensure a high level of efficiency and performance, Eucobat strives for uniform principles in terms of policy and implementation. All members have to ensure that all waste batteries are collected, including the batteries with a negative residual value and those discarded in poorer populated regions. Cherry picking should be avoided, and communication should be a shared responsibility of all compliance organizations and all producers. A collection network with sufficient collection points ensures the consumer convenience. The recycling targets should be realistic, measurable and value-based instead of mass-based, and should ensure the recycling of hazardous and valuable materials to the highest degree that is technically feasible while avoiding excessive costs.
Separately invoicing the net collection and recycling costs will benefit the environment, consumers, authorities and all economic actors involved in the distribution of the new batteries, as it guarantees the financing of all required investments.