Directive 2006/66/EC aimed at increased environmental performance introduced limits of 0.0005% of mercury in batteries and accumulators and 0.002% of cadmium in portable batteries and accumulators. Directive 2006/66/EC has since been amended by directive 2013/56/EU.
Directive 2013/56/EU (amending 2006/66/EC) sets out that the limit of 0.0005% of mercury in batteries will also apply to button cell batteries from 1st October 2015. The exemption of button cell batteries in hearing aids will be reviewed by 1st October 2014
From 1st January 2017, portable batteries for use in cordless power tools (previously exempt) must contain no more than 0.002% of cadmium. However, portable batteries used in medical equipment and emergency alarm systems (including lighting) will be exempt.
Batteries and accumulators that do not meet the requirements of Directive 2013/56/EU, but which were lawfully placed on the market prior to the date of application of the respective prohibitions set out by the directive, may continue to be marketed until stocks are exhausted.