A week ago the European Union agreed to make battery recycling compulsory within two years. The new law allows for customers to return dead batteries to retail stores, who forward them back to the manufacturers, who must in turn arrange and pay for their recycling. The proposal will also ban batteries containing more than a trace of cadmium and mercury. Initially the plan sets out to recover 25% of all batteries sold by 2012, with this rate rising to 45% by 2016. This will challenge some EU members like Britain, who currently recycle less than 1% of their battery stock. Whereas countries such as Belgium, who’ve been managing 59% recovery rates recently, will be less pained. It appears that batteries in consumer products must be removable by the user, so they can be returned via retail channels. Will this see a change in the design of electronics, like Apple’s famed iPod, which has a fixed battery? According to the EU, about 800,000 tonnes of automotive batteries, 190,000 tonnes of industrial batteries and 160,000 tonnes of portable (consumer) batteries are placed on the European market annually. And as they rightly observe thousands of tonnes of metals, such as nickel, cobalt and silver, will be recovered when batteries are recycled. ::EU Commissioner for the Environment via The Times and BBC News.