Europe refreshes legislation to ease recovery of critical materials from end-of-life batteries

Europe refreshes legislation to ease recovery of critical materials from end-of-life batteries

The European Council and Parliament signed a provision agreement introducing more stringent targets for battery recycling, product design and supply chain monitoring.

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The new legislation is targeted at enforcing more stringent controls and targets of several areas of the battery industry in the EU, most specifically on the collection and recycling of batteries.  Collection targets for all battery technologies sold in the EU are applied depending on the end-use.  For batteries in portable electronics, collection targets will reach 45% in 2023 increasing to 73% in 2030, while for those used in e-bikes and other light-means-of-transport (LMT) collection targets will increase from 51% in 2028 to 61% in 2031.  Collection targets will be applicable regardless of the battery's nature, composition, condition, origin or brand - and collection of battery waste must be free of charge.  Recycling efficiencies have also been assigned new targets, with minimum lithium recovery from Li-ion battery recycling aimed to be 50% in 2027 and 80% by 2031. 

The mandatory recycled content of rechargeable batteries sold in the EU will be 16% for cobalt, 85% for lead, 6% for lithium and 6% for nickel, which will create a significant market for recycled battery raw materials in Europe.   The recycled content of batteries must also be documented which, along with details on carbon emissions, battery design and type, will form part of the "battery passport" for all battery packs with a capacity >2kWh. 

Operators placing rechargeable batteries on the European market must also undertake due diligence on the raw materials and production supply chains for rechargeable batteries.  While small and medium enterprises may be exempt from undertaking due diligence, major manufacturers will need to ensure sound supply chain practises across a wide range of raw material markets to gain access to the European market.           

Manufacturers have also been tasked with ensuring rechargeable batteries used in portable electronics will be removable and replaceable by an end user, while batteries in LMT applications will be able to be removed and replaced by a third-party professional.  This legislation is aimed at reducing e-waste material generation, allowing for only batteries to be easily and economically replaced rather than replacing the entire product. 

  • 13 Dec 2022
  • European Union
  • Batteries

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