Battery makers revolt against EU law plan

Industry group says nickel-cadmium phase-out would wreck European rechargeables industry

Draft EU plans to ban nickel-cadmium (NiCad) batteries by 2008 will devastate the rechargeable battery industry while removing only 2% of cadmium emissions to the environment, an industry group set up to promote NiCad recycling has claimed.

Europe's NiCad battery makers are furious that the proposal, advanced by the European Commission's environment directorate under a broader directive on treating battery waste (ENDS Daily 10 April), is being made before an EU-level risk assessment on cadmium is complete.

CollectNiCad, which represents 90% of European industry, further claims that early drafts of the assessment had proven that 98% of the cadmium in the environment comes from sources other than NiCad batteries: "The directive does not address these 98% of emissions," it complains.

The plans would "very negatively" affect the European rechargeables sector "as the alternative technologies are produced mainly in countries outside Europe," it said. Moreover, "expert evidence" had challenged a report for the directorate that concluded that a NiCad phase-out could be achieved even before 2008 (ENDS Daily 1 December 2000).

"The proposal stems from a lack of dialogue with industry...almost all the material given to DG environment over the past two and a half years seems not to have been used in the development of the proposal," concluded CollectNiCad.

Follow Up:
CollectNiCad, tel: +32 2 774 9630, and press release.

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