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EU Regulations for E-bikes & Pedelecs (Part 6) Battery Directive

Laws & Regulations

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Batteries may contain metals such as zinc, copper, manganese, lithium and nickel, which present a risk to the environment and human health if they are incorrectly disposed of. As a consequence of this, the collection, recycling, treatment and disposal of batteries and accumulators are ruled at European level by Directive 2006/66/EC, also known as the battery directive.

EU Regulations for E-bikes & Pedelecs (Part 6) Battery Directive

This Directive also prohibits the placing on the market of most batteries and accumulators with a certain mercury or cadmium content.

The Directive applies to all batteries and therefore also includes the Lithium Ion (Li-ion) and Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-M-H) batteries commonly used in electric bicycles. These are classified as “industrial batteries”. Such batteries may no longer be incinerated or disposed of in landfills.

Recycling

The Battery Directive establishes one and the same framework for the collection and recycling of batteries in all member states. It also sets out minimum rules for the functioning of national collection and recycling schemes, in particular for the financing of these schemes by the producers. It is up to the battery producers to finance the cost of the collection, treatment and recycling of waste batteries.

Here is an overview of the national collection schemes: http://www.rechargebatteries.org/html/recharge-recycling-addresses.html

The producer is the person in a Member State who supplies or makes available to a third party, batteries (including those incorporated into vehicles) in that same Member State for the first time on a professional basis. This definition applies irrespective of the selling technique used and irrespective of whether the batteries are made available in return for payment or free of charge. This includes import into the European Union.

The following specific measures apply to industrial batteries:

  • Producers must be registered in the national register of all Member States where they place batteries on the market for the first time. If for instance, the manufacturer of the battery in an electric bicycle or the manufacturer of the electric bicycle or his representative are not registered in the national register, the dealer will be considered to be the producer of the battery and will be held responsible.
  • Producers of industrial batteries or third parties acting on their behalf have an obligation to take back waste industrial batteries.
  • Industrial batteries have to be readily removable from electric bicycles. If the battery is integrated in the bicycle, it has to be accompanied by instructions showing how the batteries can be safely removed and who is the best person to do this.
  • Batteries must be labelled with a crossed out wheeled bin and chemical symbols indicating the heavy metal content of the battery.
  • All collected industrial batteries must be recycled. Industrial batteries may not be disposed of in landfills or by incineration. Since 26 September 2011, battery recycling processes must meet minimum recycling efficiencies of 65% for lead-acid batteries, 75% for nickel-cadmium batteries and 50% for other batteries, with the best lead and cadmium recycling possible.
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