The Directive has been amended both in terms of environment and design and it will affect both producers and importers of batteries.
Changes in relation to the environment
The Directive amends permitted substance contents in several different types of batteries such as button cells, batteries for handheld tools and, in the longer term perspective, batteries for hearing aids.
For button cell batteries the new directive stipulates that as from October 2015 they must follow the main rule deciding that they must not contain more than 0,0005 % of mercury by weight. The exemption for button cell batteries of a content of 0,2 % by weight is repealed.
This is a significant strenghtening/environmental improvement and it means that producers/importers by October 2015 must develop button cell batteries that comply with the new, lower mercury limits. It should be noted that batteries placed on the market before the bans come into effect can be sold until stocks are exhausted.
Battery powered handheld tools have so far been exempt from the general ban on placing on the market of products containing more than 0,002 % of cadmium by weight. This exemption is repealed as from 31 December 2016. It should be noted that products placed on the market before the bans come into effect can be sold until stocks are exhausted.
Changes in relation to design
The main rule deciding that waste batteries and accumulators can be readily removed from the product is relaxed substantially in the amended Directive since after its implementation manufacturers should “design appliances in such a way that waste batteries and accumulators can be readily removed by qualified professionals that are independent of the manufacturer”.
Naturally, this amendment is very important to EEE producers that will – all other things being equal – find it easier to comply with the Batteries Directive.
On the other hand it means that recycling facilities will have a harder time complying with the requirement that batteries must be removed from the WEEE for separate collection and treatment.
Thus, the recycling facilities must make pressure on the EEE producers for a binding cooperation in order to obtain information about the location and way of fastening of the battery.
Separate removal of the batteries is a precondition for Denmark’s compliance with the higher targets for collection and recycling.