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EU Batteries Regulation enters into force

A new EU law aiming to expand battery collection, reuse and recycling in Europe entered into force yesterday (17 August).

The new Batteries Regulation will aim to support the shift to a circular economy, increase security of supply for raw materials and energy and “enhance the EU’s strategic autonomy,” the European Commission said in a press release.

The new regulation is the first piece of EU legislation taking a full life-cycle approach in which sourcing, manufacturing, use and recycling are enshrined in a single law.

In around 24 months, the regulation will gradually introduce declaration requirements, performance classes and maximum limits on the carbon footprint of electric vehicles, light means of transport (such as e-bikes and scooters) and rechargeable industrial batteries.

From 2025, targets for recycling efficiency, material recovery and recycled content will also be “gradually introduced.” All collected waste batteries will have to be recycled and high levels of recovery will have to be achieved, in particular critical raw materials such as cobalt, lithium and nickel.

According to the EU Commission, this will guarantee that valuable materials are recovered at the end of their useful life and brought back into the economy by adopting stricter targets for recycling efficiency and material recovery over time.

Starting in 2027, consumers will be able to remove and replace the portable batteries in their electronic products at any time of the life cycle. This is expected to extend the life of these products before their final disposal, encourage reuse and contribute to the reduction of post-consumer waste.

To help consumers make informed decisions on which batteries to purchase, key data will be provided on a product’s label. From 2027, consumers will also be able to remove and replace the portable batteries in their electronic products at any time of the life cycle. A QR code will provide access to a digital passport with detailed information on each battery.

Under the new law’s due diligence obligations, companies must identify, prevent and address social and environmental risks linked to the sourcing, processing and trading of raw materials such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and natural graphite contained in their batteries.

“The expected massive increase in demand for batteries in the EU should not contribute to an increase of such environmental and social risks,” the EU’s executive body said in the press release.

The regulation now awaits its application in member states, alongside the redaction of secondary legislation (implementing and delegated acts) providing more detailed rules.

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