EU: Parliament and Council agree on battery law

The Commission welcomes the provisional agreement between the European Parliament and the Council to make batteries more sustainable, circular and safe.
PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

The agreement builds on the Commission’s proposal from December 2020 and addresses the social, economic, and environmental matters related to all types of batteries.

The new law aims at making batteries sustainable throughout their entire lifecycle. Europe’s clean energy transition and independence from fuel imports will be supported by the new rules that establish an essential framework to foster further development of a competitive sustainable batteries industry. Batteries are also a key technology that plays a central role in advancing EU’s climate neutrality by 2050.

Once the new law enters into force, sustainability requirements on carbon footprint, recycled content and performance and durability will be introduced gradually from 2024 onwards. A more comprehensive regulatory framework on Extended Producer Responsibility will start applying by mid-2025, with higher collection targets being introduced over time. For portable batteries the targets will be 63% in 2027 and 73% in 2030, while for batteries from light means of transport, the target will be 51% in 2028 and 61% in 2031. All collected batteries have to be recycled and high levels of recovery have to be achieved, in particular of valuable materials such as copper, cobalt, lithium, nickel, and lead.

By adopting stricter targets for recycling efficiency and material recovery over time, this will guarantee that valuable materials will be recovered at the end of their useful life. Material recovery targets for lithium will be 50% by 2027 and 80% by 2031.

Companies placing batteries on the EU internal market will have to demonstrate that the materials used for their manufacturing were sourced responsibly. This means that social and environmental risks associated with the extraction, processing and trading of the raw materials used for the battery manufacturing will have to be identified and mitigated.

The European Parliament and the Council will now formally have to adopt the new Regulation before it can enter into force. The new Regulation will replace the existing Batteries Directive from 2006. This new cradle-to-grave regulatory framework for batteries will require a lot of more detailed rules (secondary legislation) to be adopted from 2024 to 2028 to be fully operational.


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