From: Associated Press
Published May 3, 2006 12:00 AM

EU to Agree on New Battery Recycling Plan, Officials Say

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Union was expected to agree Tuesday on new rules for collecting and recycling batteries to limit pollution caused when they are incinerated or buried in leaky landfill sites, a program estimated to cost industry at least euro200 million (US$253 million).


Representatives of the European Parliament, EU governments and the European Commission were expected to agree on rules that have been under fierce discussion since they were first suggested in 2003, the European Parliament said in a statement.


The new rules impose targets for collecting used batteries ranging from regular AA batteries to those used in mobile phones and laptops. By 2012, a quarter of all batteries sold must be collected once they run out. By 2016, the target will rise to 45 percent. The rules also determine how they must be recycled once collected.


Battery producers and distributors will foot most of the bill for the recycling programs and educating the public to take their batteries to recycling points. The European Commission calculates that cost at between euro200 million to euro400 million (US$253 million to US$506 million).


The average European household uses 21 batteries a year, according to EU figures. In 2002, that added up to more than 158,000 metric tons of batteries, of which 28 percent were rechargeable. For industrial use, Europe went through 190,000 metric tons of lead acid batteries.


"That's a lot of polluting material," said Andre Riche, an environment spokesman at the European Parliament.


Tuesday's agreement will be made public Wednesday. The European Parliament is then expected to vote the measures into law within two weeks.


Source: Associated Press


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