The European Union is working on an updated regulatory framework for batteries. The directive focuses on circular economy – the repurposing, remanufacturing, or recycling of batteries at the end of their life cycles – as well as on a more effective way of categorising and labelling them.
The demand for batteries is increasing globally, and the EU market is no exception. This is largely due to the growing popularity of zero-emission electric vehicles. MEPs called for a separate category to be added for batteries used in light vehicles, such as electric scooters or bikes, alongside the categories of batteries for cars, portable devices, and industrial storage. In addition, to ensure batteries are more sustainable, the EU environmental committee aims to guarantee that new batteries contain recycled cobalt, lead, lithium, and nickel. A label will be added on new batteries, reflecting their carbon footprints. Regarding the recycling of old batteries, higher collection targets will be introduced: 80% by 2030 for portable batteries, 85% by 2030 for light transport batteries and 100% for automotive and industrial batteries. Alongside environmental issues, MEPs also aim to prevent human rights abuses by ensuring the ethical sourcing of raw materials for batteries, via introducing a due diligence obligation for manufacturers.
Parliament is expected to back the proposed measures during the plenary session in March 2022, after which it will begin negotiations with EU governments.