EU battery regulation for sustainability on the finish line

11 July 2022

Batteries available in the EU
Batteries available in the EU

New EU rules for more sustainable & ethical batteries are being introduced. As batteries become a strategic market (to power the rise of smart & mobile devices, as well as renewable energy & EVs), the European Parliament is implementing new rules to tackle related environmental, ethical & social issues. This update of the EU's battery directive is to ensure that batteries can be repurposed, remanufactured or recycled at the end of their life.

With a large majority, the EU Parliament has adopted the Council position on the new EU Battery Regulation, which is to replace the previous EU Battery Directive of 2006. There were hardly any changes to the underlying draft of 10.2.2022. The regulation is intended to ensure a more sustainable use of batteries throughout the EU and for the first time focuses on the entire lifecycle of batteries. More fairness, respect for human rights and better protection of the environment – with regard to these goals, the FBDi, Germany’s trade association for electronic component distributors, supports the requirement that due diligence should be taken into account along the entire value chain, for example in procurement and processing.

Following the decision of the Environment Council, a quick agreement is to be reached in the so-called trilogue procedure between the EU member states, the EU Parliament and the EU Commission. After that, the Battery Regulation will come into force immediately throughout the EU. While a Europe-wide deposit system did not receive majority approval, the following points, among others, are on the agenda for negotiation with the EU states:

•    More stringent requirements for sustainability, performance and labelling of batteries

•    Rules for a carbon footprint declaration for electric vehicles (traction batteries) and industrial batteries, and an associated label

•    Introduction of performance classes and limits for traction and industrial batteries

•    Introduction of a new category 'Batteries for Light Means of Transport (LMT)', such as e-bikes and e-scooters.

•    Minimum durability and performance requirements for industrial batteries and general purpose traction batteries    

•    Mandatory use of a minimum amount of recycled lead, cobalt, lithium and nickel in new batteries.

•    Designing batteries in devices such as smartphones and LMTs so that users and independent professionals can easily and safely remove them themselves.

•    Increase collection rates to 70% (until 2030) for portable batteries and to 54% for LMT batteries (expected by 2030).

•    Introduction of the Battery Passport as the first digital product passport at European level to bring together and make available important information along the lifecycle of traction and industrial batteries.

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