New EU law aims to create circular economy for batteries



Battery recycling

A new law that aims to ensure batteries are collected, reused and recycled in Europe entered into force yesterday (17 August).

The European Commission (EC) says the new Batteries Regulation will ensure that batteries have a low carbon footprint, use minimal harmful substances, need less raw materials from non-EU countries, and are collected, reused and recycled in Europe.

This will support the shift to a circular economy, increase the security of supply for raw materials and energy, and enhance the EU’s strategic autonomy, the EC says.

The Batteries Regulation aims to ensure that batteries placed on the EU single market only contain a restricted amount of “harmful substances” which are necessary for the batteries to function. The EC says substances of concern used in batteries will be regularly reviewed.

The EC says the Batteries Regulation is the first piece of European legislation taking a full life-cycle approach in which sourcing, manufacturing, use and recycling are enshrined in a single law, in line with the European Green Deal.

The EC says the Batteries Regulation is the first piece of European legislation taking a full life-cycle approach.

Starting in 2025, the Regulation will gradually introduce declaration requirements, performance classes and maximum limits on the carbon footprint of electric vehicles, light means of transport (such as e-bikes and scooters) and rechargeable industrial batteries.

The EU is set to increase targets for recycling efficiency, material recovery and recycled content from 2025 onwards. Starting in 2027, consumers in the EU will also be able to remove and replace portable batteries in their electronic products at any time of the life cycle.

Data will be provided on batteries’ labels and QR codes will provide consumers with access to a digital passport with information on each battery.

Under the new law’s due diligence obligations, companies must identify, prevent and address social and environmental risks linked to the sourcing, processing and trading of raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and natural graphite contained in their batteries.

The EC says work will now focus on the application of the law in the Member States and the redaction of secondary legislation (implementing and delegated acts) providing more detailed rules.

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