Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Waste management and circular economy

Waste - 15.12.2004

Environment Council: CEMR urges EU Ministers to be ambitious on future legislation on batteries and accumulators
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) calls on EU Environment ministers to include power tools in the cadmium ban and to set high collection targets for portable batteries at their next Council meeting.
The Council is expected to adopt rules to apply to batteries and accumulators on 20 December 2004, and CEMR believes that exempting power tools from the cadmium ban, as well as setting low collection targets for all portable batteries would send very negative signals.
EU diplomats discussed a draft Council agreement on 13 December. The Dutch presidency concluded that a majority of Member States was in favour of exempting power tools from the cadmium ban. This would apply to all portable batteries except those used in medical equipment, emergency and alarm systems.
CEMR urges ministers to go back to the earlier position that included power tools in the cadmium ban, though with a four-year grace period. 70% of the cadmium used in portable batteries is found in power tools, why then ban cadmium if almost three quarters of that harmful substance is not covered by the ban? Besides, substitutes are available: NiMH technology (nickel-metal hybrid) represents a valuable alternative available at competitive prices. A market survey in the Nordic Countries has shown that professionals today not only accept but prefer NiMH.
CEMR welcomes the fact that the Council too will base spent batteries collection targets on sales data. But the targets agreed are far too low: 20% six years after the entry into force of the directive, and only 40% by the end of 2014, whereas the European Parliament has requested 50% by 2011 and 60% by 2013. CEMR urges ministers to be more ambitious when setting the level for collection targets.
CEMR argues that if EU Environment ministers want to live up to the commitments of the Lisbon Process, they have here the possibility to enhance the competitiveness of European industry and improve environmental protection by denying market access to no-brand power-tools that are typically equipped with cadmium batteries.

For more information:
Jacques Hoffenberg tel: + 32 (0)477 342372
Sylvain chevassus tel: +32 (0)2 500 05 35
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