European Parliament’s deal to apply new EU rules for batteries: design, production and waste treatment
The European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional agreement in December 2022 to overhaul EU rules on batteries aiming to make all batteries placed on the EU market more sustainable, circular and safe. The new law is part of the European Green Deal and is aimed at ensuring that batteries in the EU, which are essential for reaching climate neutrality by 2050, are sustainable throughout their entire lifecycle. The agreement builds on the European Commission's December 2020 proposal and addressed the social, economic and environmental matters related to all types of batteries. It shall replace the existing Batteries Directive from 2006 and will require more detailed secondary legislation to be adopted in 2024.
The rules will gradually introduce sustainability requirements on carbon footprint, recycled content and performance and durability from 2024. From mid-2025, a more comprehensive regulatory framework on extended producer responsibility will start to apply, with higher collection targets being introduced over time. These targets will be 63% in 2027 and 73% in 2030 for portable batteries, 51% in 2028 and 61% in 2031 for batteries from light transport.
All collected batteries must be recycled and high levels of recovery will be mandated, in particular for valuable battery raw materials, such as copper, cobalt, lithium, nickel and lead. 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. Material recovery targets for lithium will be 50% by 2027 and 80% by 2031.
The rules will also require companies placing batteries on the EU internal market to demonstrate that raw materials used for manufacturing are sourced responsibly, meaning they will have to identify and mitigate any social and environmental risks associated with the mining, processing and trading of these raw materials.