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Battery Recycling

Facts and Figures

  • Every year in Switzerland, approx. 120 million batteries are sold. The annual use of batteries in Switzerland remains about 3,500 tonnes.
  • Of these batteries sold, 75.44% of these (status in September 2014) are recycled. The Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) require a response rate of 80%, which we are approaching, slowly but surely.
  • An obligatory advance disposal fee (VEG) applies to batteries and accumulators since 1 April 2001. This finances the collection, transport and the environmentally recycling of used batteries and accumulators.

Why return batteries?

Every year, over five billion batteries are sold in Europe. Of those, about 120 million are in Switzerland. Used batteries and accumulators contain a high amount of recyclable materials. However, they also contain environmentally harmful toxins and heavy metals like mercury, zinc, lead, cadmium and manganese, which on no account may be added to the cycle of materials.

When we collect old batteries and put these back into the recycling process instead of throwing them into the rubbish, we make a significant contribution to the conservation of resources. In this way, we protect the environment from harmful heavy metals and toxins.

Where to return batteries?

In Switzerland, there is a legally anchored obligation for trade to return used batteries. This means: Batteries and accumulators can be brought back everywhere where they are sold, free of charge. Switzerland has more than 12,000 of these collection points:

  • Retail
  • Department stores
  • Photo, electronic and mobile communications speciality businesses
  • Kiosks, petrol station shops, etc.

Note the relevant guidelines or find out from sales personnel. The obligation to return used batteries applies independently from a purchase. In some cases used batteries and accumulators can also be handed into local council collection points. Many firms make collection points available to their employees.


There is no general prohibition for the export of batteries in Switzerland. The Federal Bureau for the Environment (FOEN) has, however, so far prohibited the export of old batteries to other countries in cases where the applicant could not sufficiently prove that he was capable of maintaining Swiss standards on his production site.

Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) Inobat

In a judgement dated 11 December 2006, the Federal Court was preoccupied with such requests and confirmed this practice.

Waste Codes

CodeClassificationDescription of Waste
05 07 01[S]Waste containing mercury (R4, R7, D9)
06 03 15[S]Metal oxides containing heavy metals (R4)
06 03 16[S]Metal oxides with the exception of those falling under 06 03 15 (R4)
06 04 04[S]Waste containing mercury (R4, D9)
06 04 05[S]Waste containing other heavy metals (R4)
06 07 02[S]Activated carbon from chlorine production (R7)
06 13 02[S]Spent activated carbon (except 06 07 02) (R4, R7)
07 03 10[S]Other filter cakes and spent absorbents (R7)
09 01 01[S]Water-based developer and activator solutions (D151, D152, R151, R152)
09 01 04[S]Fixing baths (D151, D152, R151, R152)
10 01 18[S]Wastes from flue gas treatment, which contains dangerous substances (R4, R7, D9)
10 02 07[S]Solid waste from gas treatment, containing dangerous substances (R7)
10 03 23[S]Solid waste from gas treatment, containing dangerous substances (R7)
10 04 06[S]Solid waste from flue gas treatment (R7)
10 05 05[S]Solid waste from gas treatment (R4, R7)
10 06 06[S]Solid waste from flue gas treatment (R7)
10 13 12[S]Solid wastes from gas treatment containing dangerous substances (R4, R7)
10 14 01[S]Waste containing mercury from gas purification (R4, R7, D9)
11 01 05[S]Acidic pickling solutions (R5)
11 01 09[S]Sludge and filter cake containing dangerous substances (R4)
11 01 16[S]Saturated or spent ion exchanger resins (R4, D9)
11 05 03[S]Solid waste from flue gas treatment (R4)
12 01 15[S]Machining sludges other than those mentioned in 12 01 14 (R4)
15 02 02[S]absorbents, filter materials (including oil filters not otherwise specified), wiping cloths, protective clothing contaminated by hazardous substances (R4, D9)
16 01 08[S]Components containing mercury (R4, D9)
16 03 03[S]Inorganic waste containing dangerous substances (R4)
16 03 07[S]Metallic mercury (D9)
16 05 06[S]laboratory chemicals, consisting of or containing hazardous substances, including mixtures of laboratory chemicals (R4, D9)
16 05 07[S]discarded inorganic chemicals consisting of or containing hazardous substances (R4, D9)
16 06 01[S]Lead batteries and lead accumulators (R151, R152)
16 06 02[S]Nickel cadmium batteries ans nickel cadmium accumulators (R151, R152, R153)
16 06 03[S]Mercury-containing batteries (R4, D9)
16 06 04[S]Alkaline batteries (R4)
16 06 05[S]Other batteries and accumulators (R4)
16 06 97[S]Lithium batteries and lithium accumulators (D151, D152, R4)
16 06 98[S]Mixtures of batteries and/or accumulators (R153, R4)
17 09 01[S]Building waste containing mercury (R4, D9)
18 01 01[S]Waste with risk of injury (pointed or sharp items – “sharps”) with the exception of those falling under 18 01 03 (R4)
18 01 09[S]Old medications other than those mentioned in 18 01 08 (R4, D9)
18 01 10[S]Amalgam waste from dental care (R4, D9)
19 01 05[S]Filter cake from flue gas treatment (R4, D9)
19 01 07[S]Solid waste from flue gas treatment (R4, D9)
19 01 10[S]Spent activated carbon from flue gas treatment (R4, R7, D9)
19 01 11[S]Rust and boiler ash and slag containing dangerous substances (R4)
19 01 13[S]Fly ash containing dangerous substances (R4, D9)
19 02 05[S]sludges from physico/chemical treatment containing hazardous substances (R4, D9)
19 08 06[S]Saturated or spent ion exchanger resins (R4, D9)
19 11 07[S]Waste from flue-gas cleaning (R7)
19 12 11[S]Other wastes (including mixtures of materials) from mechanical treatment of waste containing dangerous substances (R4, D9)
19 13 01[S]Solid waste from soil or excavated material containing dangerous substances (R4, R7, D9)
19 13 03[S]Sludge from soil remediation or excavated material containing dangerous substances (R4, D9)
20 01 17[S]Photochemicals (D151, D152, R151, R152)
20 01 21[S]Fluorescent tubes containing mercury (R4, D9)
20 01 32[S]Old medications other than those mentioned in 20 010 31 (R4, D9)
20 01 94[S]Waste containing mercury other than those mentioned in 20 01 21 (R4, D9)