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Formal text of a new battery recycling law has been agreed upon by the Europeon Union

The European Union has settled on the formal text of a new battery recycling law. Under the new law, which would go in effect starting 2008, batteries with trace amounts of toxic chemicals will have to be recycled. Batteries affected include any batteries that contain cadmium or mercury which is damaging to health -- including AA, cell phone batteries, notebook batteries and even batteries found on computer motherboards.

Retailers and local authorities are expected to have collection boxes in stores or some type of collection method within the two year time frame. Picking up the recycling bill will be the battery manufacturers which may raise battery prices. Failing to separate batteries from normal garbage may also result in fines for home owners.

Even though the law hasn’t gone into effect there are already naysayers that argue the exception of industrial power tools could make the law useless.  The EU has been extremely progressive with environmental protection and electronics.  The Restriction of Hazardous Substances, or RoHS, was adopted by the EU in 2003, which virtually eliminated lead from solder and other electrical components.



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do there always have to be naysayers?
By cubby1223 on 5/5/2006 10:00:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
there are already naysayers that argue the exception of industrial power tools could make the law useless.

So does this mean there can be no progress ever? Sheesh... Who cares what any naysayers say, it's still a step in the right direction.




RE: do there always have to be naysayers?
By InternetGeek on 5/5/2006 10:05:09 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. It's not acceptable that we have pollute the environment for us to play games and program. What baffles me is why will manufacturers have to increase prices if they are recycling the batteries?. Only from what I read in the article it seems they don't have to buy the batteries for recycling, so it seems they have a free way to botain new raw materials. All they have to do is engineer their batteries to be easier to recycle.


RE: do there always have to be naysayers?
By TomZ on 5/5/2006 10:32:07 AM , Rating: 2
It costs a lot more to extract materials from finished products (if it is even possible) than to start with new raw materials. This is true of nearly any manufacturing process. Engineering something as complex as a battery to be recycled is not as easy as it sounds.


RE: do there always have to be naysayers?
By Wwhat on 5/6/2006 8:41:55 AM , Rating: 2
In actual fact and practise that turned out not to be true.
Plus it turned out that many safer alternatives to dangerous materials turned out to be cheaper for the manufacturer to use, there are several successstories in the industry I hear about.


By joust on 5/7/2006 1:21:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
In actual fact and practise that turned out not to be true.

Let's see the fact and practice. You would of course have a study, document, or SOMETHING to back yourself up?
quote:
there are several successstories in the industry I hear about.

Really? Interesting. What specifically have you heard? Let's hear it.


Please enter your comment subject
By stephenbrooks on 5/5/2006 3:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
Strikes me there must be enough toxic and/or reusable, recyclable stuff in computers for it to be worthwhile having special services that just take old computers back, disassemble them, re-use what they can and dispose of the bits carefully.




RE: Please enter your comment subject
By mindless1 on 5/6/2006 4:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
Umm, yeah I've done that for years. There's no profit in it. If you mean melting down the plastic and metal too, only if you had sorted it ahead of time and that takes labor= expensive, or shipping to a country with lower labor rates, also expensive.

So you disassemble an entire 10 year old PC... what parts do YOU want in your next *new* system? I'd take recycled steel for the chassis but that's about all. They can't reuse the lead bearing parts either. Maybe a few years from now, but different manufacturing with the goal in mind would help but increase prices in a very competitive market.


By stephenbrooks on 5/6/2006 6:07:24 PM , Rating: 2
Oh there won't be much profit in it (unless you're throwing away a comparatively new PC), but I was thinking the government could regulate that it had to be done and either come up with the cost itself or pass it back to the PC manufacturers (or mandate that the manufacturers had to do it).

This is one area in which market economics doesn't work well and it's better to have the government take an active role in planning for the environment, in conjunction with industry.


LCD monitors, and engery saving light bulbs
By irev210 on 5/5/2006 5:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
What makes me laugh is the HUGE push for energy saving light bulbs and LCD panels. They use less power over standard lightbulb, or CRT display, so... LETS BUY THEM!

But wait... they have mercury in them. I dont understand the whole deal with trying to save the enviroment by releasing new products that hurt the enviroment. Like the hybrid vehicles that get so much praise... even though they have so many lead acid batteries.




By Wwhat on 5/6/2006 8:38:13 AM , Rating: 2
Well a leadacid battery is easier to dispose of in a controlled way than polution sprayed into the air directly.


By mindless1 on 5/6/2006 4:52:36 PM , Rating: 2
Large scale lead-acid battery recycling (on the scale it would be if every car used them in std. sizes) would tend to be easier than dealing with large variations present in other devices.

It's not the use of lead that's the problem, note that already lead acid car batteries are reclaimed in US when you buy a new one.


RoSH in 2003?
By TomZ on 5/5/2006 9:28:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Restriction of Hazardous Substances, or RoHS, was adopted by the EU in 2003, which virtually eliminated lead from solder and other electrical components.

I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that RoSH in EU is just taking effect this up-coming July 2006. It probably was enacted in 2003, but clearly didn't take affect immediately.




RE: RoSH in 2003?
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/5/2006 9:35:40 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, it was adopted in 2003, but not mandatory until July 1, 2006.


Not mentioned in the article but...
By segagenesis on 5/5/2006 10:32:08 AM , Rating: 2
What about Li-Ion and Li-Po batteries? These are not exactly environmentally friendly either. I would actually classify these as more dangerous since charging them past thier C1 value or improperly regarging them can result in a fire or explosion much more easily than NiCad or NiMH.




By TomZ on 5/5/2006 10:34:40 AM , Rating: 2
The toxicity of the contents of the battery dictate the recycling priority, not the fire/explosion risk. E.g., mercury is very poisionous and so there is an emphasis to collect these batteries so the mercury doesn't get released into the environment.


stupid
By Gooberslot on 5/5/2006 10:57:25 PM , Rating: 2
[quote] The EU has been extremely progressive with environmental protection and electronics.[/quote]

Don't you mean "extremely ridiculous?" Aren't these the same people that wanted to ban lead thereby limiting the lifespan on all electronic component due to there not being a suitable replacement for lead-based solder?




RE: stupid
By faiakes on 5/6/2006 6:37:28 AM , Rating: 2
There is nothing ridiculous about not poisoning the environment we live in.

I'd rather have reduced life span of PC parts than becoming sick just by drinking water.

EU is not only right so far, but too moderate. They need to do more.


EU iginored
By Wwhat on 5/6/2006 8:35:09 AM , Rating: 2
Many EU directives are ignored or people are simply unaware of them, the EU outlawed nicads for instance, yet they have those on sale here every few weeks.
And I'm sure they are present in many devices too, and I bet that in newer memberstates you cannot get anything else even.





RE: EU iginored
By stephenbrooks on 5/6/2006 6:15:03 PM , Rating: 2
"Just banning things" is too easy (and a favourite trick of the EU environmentalists) and leads to people breaking the law. What they need to do is come up with standards for non-toxicity etc. and then partner with industry to make sure these can be integrated into their manufacturing processes, in a practical way.

Putting the responsibility on the individual "not to buy/throw away certain things" will always be very unreliable.


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