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Battery recycling scheme launched.

Byline: Charles Charalambous

A NEW scheme for recycling household batteries will start operating on May 1, with the first collections scheduled to start on 1 June, it was announced yesterday.

The scheme, which is being jointly run by non-profit organisations AFIS Cyprus Ltd and Green Dot Cyprus, means that Cyprus will fulfil in good time its obligation to comply with European Union legislation on battery collection and recycling.

Instead of being dumped in land-fills, from now on batteries will be collected, sorted and finally sent to one of five EU-based recycling plants for processing in line with all environmental and health & safety requirements. AFIS Chairman Chris Christodoulou said that he hoped that "the finances of the scheme will soon allow for advertising to raise the public's environmental awareness".

The target is to achieve 25 per cent collections by 2012, which is the minimum laid down by the current EU directive, rising to 45 per cent by 2016. The directive also requires collections rates to be monitored and reported to the European Commission on an annual basis. The recycling targets are 65 per cent of collected weight of lead acid batteries, 75 per cent of nickel-cadmium batteries, and 50 per cent of other battery types.

Green Dot Cyprus General Manager Kyriakos Parpounas said that "all batteries and accumulators have been assigned to one of two categories -- domestic and industrial -- with the domestic category covering batteries up to 2 kilos in weight." By 1 June, more than 2,500 collection-points for domestic batteries will be set up in a variety of locations on an island-wide basis, and end-users of industrial batteries will be able to return them free of charge to the supplier or manufacturer.

AFIS was set up in April 2007 and started its collaboration with Green Dot in November 2007. It was awarded Cyprus' first ever battery-recycling licence two weeks ago by the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment, a year after it made its application. The delay was caused by the fact that up to 19 March 2009, the regulation in force in Cyprus regarding the disposal of batteries was in line with the older EU directive dating from 1991, rather than the current EU directive, which came into force in 2006 and covers proper waste management of today's batteries and accumulators, including recycling, collections, "take-back" programmes and disposal. A new local regulation conforming to the 2006 directive came into force on 20 March, allowing the first licence to be issued to AFIS on 30 March, running from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2015.

Both AFIS Cyprus and Green Dot Cyprus were set up at the initiative of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE), and the shareholders and members of the organisations include companies that will benefit from their activities. So far, 66 companies have joined AFIS -- 11 shareholders and 55 members -- including the island's biggest importers of batteries. The current regulation means that any company importing or using batteries is required to participate in an approved disposal scheme.

Copyright Cyprus Mail 2009

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Apr 14, 2009
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