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The EU Council and Parliament came to a provisional agreement to update EU battery regulations and take into consideration current and upcoming technical advancements.

The agreed-upon regulations will apply to all battery types sold in the EU, including portable batteries, SLI batteries (which provide power for vehicle starting, lighting, or ignition), light means of transportation (LMT) batteries (which provide power for the traction of wheeled vehicles like electric scooters and bikes), industrial batteries, and batteries for electric vehicles (EVs).

Consumers will be more informed, and batteries will be simpler to remove and replace.

Stronger specifications to increase battery performance, durability, and sustainability were agreed upon during negotiations. A carbon footprint declaration and label will be required for EV batteries, LMT batteries, and rechargeable industrial batteries with a capacity greater than 2kWh, under the agreement.

Portable batteries in appliances must be made such that users can quickly remove and replace them themselves three and a half years after the law went into effect.

Batteries will have labels and QR codes with information about their capacity, performance, durability, chemical composition, and the “separate collection” sign to better inform consumers. A “digital battery passport” containing details on the battery model as well as details particular to the individual battery and its application will also be required for LMT batteries, industrial batteries with a capacity above 2 kWh, and EV batteries.

A “due diligence policy” that complies with international standards must be developed and implemented by all economic actors placing batteries on the EU market, with the exception of SMEs, in order to address the social and environmental risks associated with the sourcing, processing, and trading of raw materials and secondary raw materials.

 

The collection goals for portable batteries are set at 45% by 2023, 63% by 2027, and 73% by 2030, while for LMT batteries, they are 51% by 2028 and 61% by 2031. New batteries must contain a minimum amount of cobalt (16%), lead (85%), lithium (6%), and nickel (6%), which have been recovered from industry and consumer waste. Regardless of their nature, chemical composition, condition, brand, or country of origin, all used LMT, EV, SLI, and industrial batteries need to be collected. The Commission will decide by December 31, 2030, whether to gradually phase out the use of portable, non-rechargeable batteries in widespread use.

Rapporteur Achille Variati (S&D, IT) said: “For the first time, we have circular economy legislation that covers the entire life cycle of a product – this approach is good for both the environment and the economy. We agreed on measures that greatly benefit consumers: batteries will be well-functioning, safer and easier to remove. Our overall aim is to build a stronger EU recycling industry, particularly for lithium, and a competitive industrial sector as a whole, which is crucial in the coming decades for our continent’s energy transition and strategic autonomy. These measures could become a benchmark for the entire global battery market.”

The deal must first receive official approval from the Council and the Parliament.

The Commission put up a proposal for a rule on batteries and waste batteries in December 2020. The plan intends to improve the internal market’s efficiency, encourage a circular economy, and lessen its negative effects on the environment and society at every stage of the battery life cycle. The effort is strongly related to the New Industrial Strategy, the Circular Economy Action Plan, and the European Green Deal.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya

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