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Labelling and other requirements for products

There are legal restrictions on the use of ingredients that are harmful to the environment in batteries and accumulators, as well as requirements regarding environmentally favourable battery and accumulator designs and labelling to be featured on the products.

The goal of producer responsibility legislation concerning batteries and accumulators is to minimise the negative environmental effects of batteries and accumulators. Therefore, the legislation lists a number of requirements set for product manufacturers, the aim of which is to reduce waste and prevent hazards and harm to people’s health and the environment caused by waste. Some of the requirements also concern the parties placing the products on the market, i.e. the producers, who must ensure that their imported products meet the set requirements:

  1. The product is not packed more than necessary.
  2. The product is durable, repairable and reusable. The product and its use generate as little waste as possible, and the resulting waste can be recycled.
  3. When discarded as waste, the product is not hazardous or harmful to the environment, nor does it litter the environment or hinder the arrangement of a waste management scheme.
  4. In the design and manufacturing of batteries and accumulators, their properties are constantly improved for their entire life cycle in terms of environmental protection where possible.

Restrictions on the use of mercury and cadmium

The law prohibits producers from manufacturing or importing batteries and accumulators that contain:

  1. more than 0.0005% mercury by weight
  2. more than 0.002% cadmium by weight

The use of cadmium is not restricted in emergency and alarm systems or in batteries and accumulators used in medical electric and electronic devices.

Labelling on batteries and accumulators

It is the duty of the producers placing batteries and accumulators on the market to make sure that the products feature the required labelling. The law requires three kinds of labelling:
All batteries and accumulators must feature the separate collection symbol:

  1.    All batteries and accumulators must feature the separate collection symbol:

 

The separate collection symbol must cover at least 3% of the broadest side of the battery or accumulator. For button cell batteries, the symbol may be featured on the package.

 

  1.    If batteries or accumulators contain more than 0.0005% mercury, more than 0.002% cadmium or more than 0.004% lead, a chemical marking indicating the metal in question must be added under the separate collection symbol: Hg, Cd or Pb. The size of the labelling indicating a heavy metal content must be at least one fourth of the size of the separate collection symbol.
  2.    Rechargeable batteries must feature capacity labelling. The capacity is marked on the battery as milliampere-hours (mAh) or ampere-hours (Ah). The labelling depends on the size and model of the battery. Only batteries that are not meant to be removed from their device for reasons related to safety or performance are exempt from the capacity labelling requirement.

For more information about the labelling requirements, see the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) website.

Batteries and accumulators must be easy to remove from their device

The law requires that battery or accumulator-powered devices are designed so that the battery or accumulator is easy to remove. This requirement aims to ensure efficient recycling of batteries and accumulators as well as a longer service life for devices. In particular, batteries and accumulators that have a shorter service life than their device should be easy to remove while the device is still in use.

In order to make it possible to remove the batteries or accumulators from their device when the device is discarded, if not earlier, devices must come with removal instructions. The instructions must enable at least a qualified professional independent of the manufacturer to safely remove the batteries or accumulators contained in the device. In this context, qualified professional refers to parties such as an electronic device repair or maintenance shop or a pre-processor of discarded electric and electronic devices.

The removal requirement does not concern devices that require a constant power input and a fixed coupling between the device and the battery or accumulator for safety or performance-related or medical or information security reasons. The producer must make sure that the product it imports meets the aforementioned requirements.

The producer must also make sure that waste management operators have the necessary information about the reuse, disassembly and recycling of batteries and accumulators, as well as the location of hazardous materials in the product.