On 9 December 2022, the Council and the European Parliament reached a provisional political agreement regarding a proposal for tightening the sustainability regulations for batteries and waste batteries. The legislation applies to all batteries and will regulate a battery’s entire life cycle; from the production process and design requirements to its “second life,” recycling and the use of recycled content for the production of new batteries.
The new Battery Directive has a two-part legal basis pertaining to the internal market and the environment. Chapter VII of the Directive (Management of battery waste) specifically includes EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) regulations and collection targets. This gives individual member states some breathing room to avoid compromising effective existing national systems for Extended Producer Responsibility.
The provisional political agreement is awaiting its formal adoption by the Council and the European Parliament. Following its approval by both institutions, the procedure will be concluded at first reading and the legislative act will be announced in the EU’s Official Journal. Upon publication, the new Battery Directive will enter into force after twenty days. This is expected to happen at some point in the coming months. Chapter VII, which contains the Extended Producer Responsibility and Collection Targets, among other things, will enter into force twenty-four months later.
Key points of this political agreement:
5 new battery categories:
- Portable batteries and accumulators. This category will be expanded to include batteries weighing up to 5 kg.
- LMT: batteries for light means of transport that provide energy for the traction of wheeled vehicles, e.g. electric bikes, electric mopeds and e-scooters.
- EV: batteries that are specifically designed to power hybrid and electric vehicles.
- SLI (Starting Lighting Ignition): batteries that provide the power needed to start, light or ignite vehicles.
- Industrial: batteries that are designed for industrial applications and all other batteries that fall outside the four aforementioned categories.
Before 31 December 2030, the European Commission will assess whether the use of nonrechargeable portable batteries and accumulators for general use should be gradually abolished.
New collection targets
The following collection targets will be included for waste portable batteries and accumulators;
- 45% by 31 December 2023
- 63% by 31 December 2027
- 73% by 31 December 2030
Furthermore, specific collection targets will be implemented for the new category of LMT batteries;
- 51% by 31 December 2028
- 61% by 31 December 2031
Regarding batteries that fall into the SLI, EV and Industrial categories, a 100% collection rate is expected.
Removability of batteries from electrical and electronic devices
It has also been agreed that end users must be able to remove and replace batteries and accumulators built into electrical and electronic devices. For LMT batteries, such as those used in electric bikes, electric mopeds and e-scooters, a new requirement will also enter into force forty-two months after the introduction of the new Battery Directive, stipulating that these batteries and individual cells in a battery pack must be easily removable and replaceable by an independent professional at any time during a product’s life cycle.
The new Battery Directive also includes requirements regarding activities related to Repurposing and Remanufacturing, which are designed to give Industrial and EV batteries a second life.
Waste batteries must be collected and recycled, whereby the recycling process must meet;
- Minimal efficiency standards.
- Minimal recovery percentages for cobalt, copper, lead, lithium and nickel.
The Council and the European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement to set the target recovery percentage for lithium from waste batteries at 50% by 2027 and 80% by 2031. The new Battery Directive also stipulates that batteries must come with information regarding the percentage of recycled materials they contain.
Labelling and information requirement („battery product pass“)
In the future, every battery must contain a QR code that provides access to all labelling information and relevant additional information and reports that must be provided or drawn up as part of a manufacturer’s compliance with the other provisions of the Battery Directive. In addition to the labelling requirements, a BMS (Battery Management System) must be in place for rechargeable Industrial batteries and EV batteries. The BMS must contain accessible data pertaining to the parameters used to assess a battery’s state of health (STOH) and its expected lifespan.
Evaluation of conformity
The Battery Directive prescribes two types of conformity evaluation procedure to assess the conformity of batteries, depending on the applicable requirements and the batteries involved; one being a purely internal production check (self assessment), the other being an internal production check combined with verification under the supervision of a notified body.
If you got more detailed questions on battery compliance in the EU feel free to ask Go4recycling anytime and get in touch.