France complies with 1991 batteries directive

From 1 January free take-back required by retailers, distributors of certain batteries, accumulators

France has finally complied with the 1991 EU directive on batteries containing dangerous substances. As of 1 January, companies involved in the retail sale, distribution and importing of batteries and accumulators are now required to accept the return of end-of-life products containing certain levels of mercury and lead.

The country's slow transposition of the 1991 directive led the European Commission to threaten legal action in 1997 (ENDS Daily 27 March 1997), but this never materialised.

The new law is backed up by a threat of fines, and it also requires producers to work jointly with importers and distributors to create waste management chains for all relevant products. The French press has reported that some retail chains have already taken steps to implement the law by introducing battery bins in their shops.

Follow Up:
French environment ministry, tel: +33 1 42 19 20 21, and press release.

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