Today we look into the recently implemented Batteries Regulation in Europe (12 July 2023). This regulatory framework lays the groundwork for a sustainable and circular approach towards battery usage, encompassing the entire lifecycle from sourcing to recycling. So, please join me and let’s commence this informative journey together!
The Full Life-Cycle Approach
Unlike any other piece of EU legislation, the Batteries Regulation takes a full life-cycle approach, encompassing sourcing, manufacturing, use, and recycling. It encompasses strict rules around sourcing, production, use, second-use, and end-of-life management of batteries. This aims to optimize resource efficiency, promote circularity, and establish a secure, sustainable and competitive battery value chain in the EU.
The regulation will gradually introduce declaration requirements, performance classes, and maximum limits on the carbon footprint of electric vehicles, e-bikes, scooters, and rechargeable industrial batteries. These measures will encourage the adoption of more sustainable options and drive the use of low-carbon technologies.
Recycling and Material Recovery
From 2025 onwards, the new regulation will introduce targets to enhance recycling efficiency, material recovery, and the use of recycled content in batteries. This signifies that all collected waste batteries will undergo recycling, with a specific focus on reclaiming critical raw materials such as cobalt, lithium, and nickel. By progressively establishing more stringent targets, the regulation facilitates the rejuvenation of valuable materials, thereby reducing the necessity for fresh resource extraction and promoting a more sustainable approach to material utilization. The regulation also progressively elevates recycling and material recovery objectives. By 2025, the minimum EU-wide recycling efficiency target stands at 65 %, which will rise to 70 % by 2030. Additionally, the material recovery target for lithium-ion portable batteries is set at 50 % by 2030, while other batteries have a target of 70 %. Furthermore, original equipment manufacturers are required to ensure that at least 25 % of cobalt, lead, lithium, and nickel used in new batteries are derived from recycled materials.
Starting in 2027, consumers will have the power to remove and replace portable batteries in their electronic products at any time during the product’s life cycle. This not only extends the lifespan of these products but also promotes reuse and reduces post-consumer waste. Additionally, product labels will provide key data to help consumers make informed decisions, while a QR code will grant access to a digital passport with detailed information on each battery. Transparency and empowerment are the name of the game!
Responsible Supply Chains
The Batteries Regulation goes beyond the battery itself and focuses on the responsible sourcing of raw materials. Companies will have to adhere to due diligence obligations, identifying and addressing social and environmental risks associated with the sourcing, processing, and trading of materials like lithium, cobalt, nickel, and natural graphite. This provision ensures that batteries are produced in a sustainable and ethical manner, promoting responsible supply chains.
The introduction of the new Batteries Regulation marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of sustainable battery management. By addressing the full life cycle of batteries, encouraging recycling and material recovery, empowering consumers, and promoting responsible supply chains, Europe is taking a giant leap towards a greener future. With these measures in place, we can look forward to a more sustainable and circular approach to battery usage.
Thank you for reading.
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Until next time, keep shining bright like a solar panel on a sunny day!
REGULATION (EU) 2023/1542 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 12 July 2023 concerning batteries and waste batteries,
amending Directive 2008/98/EC and Regulation (EU) 2019/1020
and repealing Directive 2006/66/EC