The Directive 2006/66/EC on Batteries and Accumulators and Waste Batteries and Accumulators (known as the Batteries Directive) regulating the manufacturing and disposal of batteries and accumulators in the EU to protect human health and the environment from hazardous substances such as mercury and cadmium.
As described by the European Commission, the Batteries Directive prohibits the marketing of batteries containing some hazardous substances, defines measures to establish schemes aiming at high level of collection and recycling, and fixes targets for collection and recycling activities. The Directive also sets out provisions on labelling of batteries and their removability from equipment.
It also aims to improve the environmental performance of all operators involved in the life cycle of batteries and accumulators, e.g. producers, distributors and end-users and, in particular, those operators directly involved in the treatment and recycling of waste batteries and accumulators. Producers of batteries and accumulators and producers of other products incorporating a battery or accumulator are given responsibility for the waste management of batteries and accumulators that they place on the market.
The EU Commission proposed a new Batteries Regulation on 10 December 2020. This Regulation aims to ensure that batteries placed in the EU market are sustainable and safe throughout their entire life cycle.