JUNE 2010

Legislation propels growth of the European batteries waste market

Battery waste management has been a growing market across Europe principally because legislative pressure and impending deadlines are altering the way battery waste has been dealt with so far.

The EU Batteries Directive is one of the most dominant tools that have shaped market demand, supported scientific advances and encouraged investment in the batteries waste management market. While automotive and industrial batteries have already achieved a high recycling percentage due to the economic benefits of recycling, the directive now has stringent targets for the regulation of portable batteries, paving way for new opportunities for the market participants.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan European Batteries Waste Management Market, found that the market earned revenues of $10.3 million in 2009, and estimates this to reach $74.0 million by 2016. The regions covered in this research service are the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), Alpine (Switzerland and Austria), Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland), southern Europe (Italy, Spain and Portugal) and central and eastern Europe (CEE).

“The new battery directive imposes collection targets and recycling efficiencies for all batteries and introduces extended producer responsibility (EPR) as a regulatory instrument,” said Frost & Sullivan program manager Suchitra Padmanabhan. “Therefore, the transposition of this directive is expected to have a radical impact on the countries that are not yet forerunners in this field.”

The intensifying volumes of waste batteries in Europe widen the scope of market opportunities for battery disposal services companies. With fast-approaching deadlines for legislative compliance, the demand for efficient solutions and material recovery is on the rise.

However, the diverse nature of local legislation regarding batteries across the European Union has made the implementation as well as its potential interpretations extremely varied.

“Waste management companies find it challenging to manage these variations arising from lack of clarity, unified registration and reporting requirements across member states in the EU,” explained Padmanabhan. “This has hampered development of an integrated unified waste management solution by these companies.”

Companies are seeking to address these local variations by gradually formulating strategies depending on the state of compliance with the EU legislation and the availability of infrastructure to meet these demands.