The European Commission (EC) on Thursday proposed to tighten regulation on all types of batteries placed on the EU market in a push to make them sustainable, long-lasting and recyclable.
The proposal is the first initiative arising from the Circular Economy Action Plan adopted in March 2020, with which the EC is aiming to ensure that the circular potential of critical sectors, among others packaging, food, electronics and ICT, is fully utilised.
For batteries, industrial, automotive, electric vehicle (EV) and portable, the EC proposes to impose requirements such as the use of responsibly sourced materials, restrictions on hazardous substances, minimum content of recycled materials, carbon footprint, performance and durability labelling.
Sustainable batteries will not only contribute to the bloc’s zero pollution goals as envisioned in the European Green Deal, but also promote competitive sustainability, the EU executive said.
Some of the new rules include that only rechargeable industrial and EV batteries with a carbon footprint declaration can be placed on the EU market as of July 1, 2024. From July 1, 2027, they will have to comply with maximum carbon footprint thresholds.
Starting January 1, 2027, industrial and EV batteries will have to declare the content of recycled cobalt, lead, lithium and nickel. Three years later, these batteries will have to contain minimum levels of recycled content, the share of which will further increase from January 1, 2035.
The current collection and recycling rate of portable batteries of 45% will need to increase to 65% in 2025 and 70% in 2030, while other types of batteries have to be collected in full.
“Batteries are full of valuable materials and we want to ensure that no battery is lost to waste. The sustainability of batteries has to grow hand in hand with their increasing numbers on the EU market,” said Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevicius.
The rules will also apply to imported batteries regardless of their origin, with responsibility for compliance with the relevant requirements resting on importers or distributors, and in the case of carbon footprint, the levels of recycled content and raw materials sourcing, on mandatory third party verification.
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