The comparison is made among E.U. countries on the following basis:
• consortia-based, i.e. country in which there is a participation by all subjects involved throughout the battery life (Italy, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands);
• non consortia-based, i.e. country in which battery recovery takes place in a freemarket regime (France, Germany, United Kingdom and the other european countries).
- Countries Not Using Consortia-Based Systems
Primary and rechargeable batteries are still a matter under discussion, even at the political level, because of their content of heavy metals. The german producers have self-imposed the following targets:
• producing batteries with low or zero content of dangerous substances;
• collecting from the dealers spent batteries containing heavy metals.
Batteries free of toxic substances are not included in the collection system and enter the municipal waste stream. The first target above has been hit, while the second has been missed as only 30% of sold batteries have been returned. The experience gained with other recycling systems has shown that the recycling rate only increases if there is financial incentive or if the system is simple and cheap for the consumers.
A regulation set in 1996 obliges:
• the consumers to return the spent battery to the dealers or to public collectors;
• the dealers to accept all batteries from the consumers and to give notice of their obligation;
• the producers/importers to accept back and recycle all batteries;
• the producers to label the batteries as indicated in the E.U. Directive 86/93.
A levy of 7.75 € is applied to any car battery bought without returning the spent one. Furthermore, dealers and producers/importers may form associations to eliminate spent batteries. The elimination of household batteries has been compulsory sincel974. The regulation distinguish dangerous spent batteries from other types, in agreement with Directive 157/91. The waste collecting companies, too, have the obligation to take back spent batteries from the consumers.
The battery producers are obliged to monitor and analyse the results obtained with the collecting operations. They must submit an annual report to the authority for waste management. In practice, this regulation compels the producers to participate in the recycling process and introduces the "producers responsibility".
About 200,000 tons of lead are consumed every year for accumulators, as shown in table 2 (all figures in tons).
The levy to support recovering of spent batteries amounted to 7.75 € for car accumulators in 1998. Every year, 80% of spent batteries is recovered.
The data for lead/acid batteries in 1997/1998 are reported in Table 3.
Production of Refined Lead
Consumption of Refined Lead
Consumption of Lead for Accumulators
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