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New EU Rules on Batteries on the Horizon

New rules set more stringent targets for waste collection, recycling efficiency and material recovery.

On December 9, 2022, European Parliament reached a provisional agreement with the Council to overhaul EU rules on batteries. The deal is pending formal adoption in both institutions. 

Earlier in December 2020, the Commission presented a proposal for regulation on batteries and wasted batteries. The Council adopted a general approach in March 2022. The regulation aims to establish a circular economy for the battery sector throughout all stages of the battery life cycle. It will replace the Directive 2006/66/EC and complete the existing legislation, particular in terms of waste management. 

Application scope

The proposed regulation will cover the entire battery life cycle, from design to end-of-life and apply to all types of batteries sold in the EU, including:

  • Portable batteries;

  • SLI batteries (supplying power for starting, lighting or ignition of vehicles);

  • Light means of transport (LMT) batteries (providing power for the traction to wheeled vehicles such as electric scooters and bikes);

  • Electric vehicle (EV) batteries;

  • Industrial batteries.

Carbon foot print declaration

According to the deal, a carbon foot print declaration and label will be obligatory for EV batteries, LMT batteries and rechargeable industrial batteries with a capacity above 2kWh. Companies are required to collect and calculate carbon emission data for every stage of life cycle, including raw materials, production, transport, recycling.

Collection targets

The deal established end-of-life requirements, including collection targets for different types of materials and batteries.

  • Portable batteries: 45% by 2023, 63% by 2027 and 73% by 2030;

  • LMT batteries: 51% by 2028 and 61% by 2031;

  • Lithium recovered from waste batteries: 50% by 2027 and 80% in 2031, which can be amended depending on market and technological developments and the availability of lithium;

  • Industrial, SLI batteries and EV batteries: mandatory minimum levels of recycled content reused in new batteries is set at 16% for cobalt, 85% for lead, 6% for lithium and 6% for nickel;

  • Nickel-cadmium batteries: recycling efficiency target set at 80% by 2025;

  • Other waste batteries: recycling efficiency target set at 50% by 2025.

Labeling and information disclosure

As stipulated by the deal, batteries will carry a label and a QR code with information related to their capacity, performance, durability, chemical composition. LMT batteries, industrial batteries with a capacity above 2 kWh and EV batteries will also be required to have an electronic “battery passport” including battery model information as well as information specific to the individual battery and its use.

Due diligence policy

Companies operating battery business in EU market will be required to develop and implement “due diligence policy” to address the social and environmental risks linked to sourcing, processing and trading raw materials.

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