Search

Making batteries more sustainable, more durable and better-performing

Parliament approved new rules for the design, production and waste management of all types of batteries sold in the EU.

With 587 votes in favour, nine against and 20 abstentions, MEPs endorsed a deal reached with the Council to overhaul EU rules on batteries and waste batteries. The new law takes into account technological developments and future challenges in the sector and will cover the entire battery life cycle, from design to end-of-life.

Key measures foreseen by the regulation:

  • A compulsory carbon footprint declaration and label for electric vehicles (EV) batteries, light means of transport (LMT) batteries (e.g. for electric scooters and bikes), and rechargeable industrial batteries with a capacity above 2kWh;
  • Designing portable batteries in appliances in such a way that consumers can themselves easily remove and replace them;
  • A digital battery passport for LMT batteries, industrial batteries with a capacity above 2 kWh, and EV batteries;
  • A due diligence policy for all economic operators, except for SMEs;
  • Stricter waste collection targets: for portable batteries – 45% by 2023, 63% by 2027 and 73% by 2030; for LMT batteries – 51% by 2028 and 61% by 2031;
  • Minimum levels of materials recovered from waste batteries: lithium – 50% by 2027 and 80% by 2031; cobalt, copper, lead and nickel – 90% by 2027 and 95% by 2031;
  • Minimum levels of recycled content from manufacturing and consumer waste for use in new batteries: eight years after the entry into force of the regulation – 16% for cobalt, 85% for lead, 6% for lithium and 6% for nickel; 13 years after the entry into force: 26% for cobalt, 85% for lead, 12% for lithium and 15% for nickel.

Quote

Rapporteur Achille Variati (S&D, IT) said: “For the first time, we have circular economy legislation that covers the entire life cycle of a product – an approach that is good for both the environment and the economy. We agreed on measures that greatly benefit consumers: batteries will be well-functioning, safer and easier to remove. Our overall aim is to build a stronger EU recycling industry, particularly for lithium, and a competitive industrial sector as a whole, which is crucial in the coming decades for our continent’s energy transition and strategic autonomy. These measures could become a benchmark for the entire global battery market.”

Next steps

Following the final vote in plenary, the Council will now have to formally endorse the text before its publication in the EU Official Journal shortly after and its entry into force.

Background

In December 2020, the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on batteries and waste batteries. The proposal aims to strengthen the functioning of the internal market, promoting a circular economy and reducing the environmental and social impact throughout all stages of the battery life cycle. The initiative is closely linked to the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan and the New Industrial Strategy.

In adopting this report, Parliament is responding to citizens’ expectations to enhance European energy security, provide green infrastructure and build a circular economy, as expressed in Proposals 3(3), 3(6), 4(3), 5(1), 5(3) and 5(8) of the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe.

up