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Batteries

Waste batteries and accumulators are separated in rechargeable batteries and disposable ones. They can be divided into the following categories:

• Portable batteries
• Vehicle Batteries
• Industrial Batteries

In the EU approximately 160,000 tonnes of portable batteries are produced annually and ultimately disposed. This amounts to 410 g per year per capita. 75 % of this amount is non-rechargeable batteries, especially generic batteries, button type batteries and lithium batteries. Button batteries, which contain high levels of mercury, calculated at 0.2 %. The rate of recycling of portable batteries is estimated at 90 % with large variations from country to country. Please note that a 20 % of the final amount of portable batteries is contained in waste electrical and electronic equipment. In Greece about 2,500 tonnes of portable batteries are used every year, with the majority belonging to the alkaline and zinc-carbon type.

Car batteries used in the EU are estimated at 110,000 tons each year, with a rate of about 80-95 % being recycled. From the batteries replaced or recycled, approximately 15% is contained in end-of –life vehicles. Similarly, industrial batteries are estimated at around 200,000 tonnes, of which 97 % are lead-acid batteries. These batteries are always collected, however, it is difficult to estimate the percentage of recycling because of their long life cycle.

Recycling recovers precious metals such as lead, which is recycled relatively easily and can be reused. In addition it is estimated that it conserves energy, since for each battery that is recycled energy is saved at a rate of up to 80 %.

The quantitative target that has been set is to cover 25 % by 2012 and 45% by 2016 of portable battery in the Greek market in the previous three years. Based on an annual average, the Greek market in the last three years, recycled 33% of portable batteries.

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