Smartphones, cars and electric bikes… Europe wants greener batteries

An interim law by the European Parliament and the Member States of the European Union will oblige manufacturers to make batteries more ecological. (©auremar/AdobeStock)

Did you know that, despite its small size, the smartphone you just put in your pocket is a ecological disaster ?

In question, in particular: its battery, consisting of non-recyclable minerals or attached to the device, preventing its reuse. And the same goes for your computer, household appliances, but also scooters and electric cars.

To combat this scourge, the European Parliament and the Member States of the European Union (EU) decided to force manufacturers to These batteries are “green”. “taking into account technological developments”, through a temporary law adopted on Friday, December 9, 2022.

All types of batteries are sold in the EU

This temporary law aims to cover “the entire life cycle of batteries, from design to waste treatment”, indicates the Parliament in a press release, published this Saturday.

This will apply to all types of batteries sold in the EU, meaning:

  • Portable batteries (for telephones or computers);
  • SLI batteries (provide energy for starting, lighting or ignition of vehicles);
  • Light Means of Transport (MTL) battery (provides power for traction of wheeled vehicles such as scooters and e-bikes);
  • Batteries for electric vehicles (EV);
  • Industrial batteries.

The purpose of this law, concretely: make their batteries “stronger, more efficient and more resistant”.

“Our overall goal is to build a European recycling industry strongerespecially for lithium, and a competitive industrial sector as a whole, which is important in the coming decades for the energy transition and the strategic autonomy of our continent”, explained the rapporteur of the law, MEP Achille Variati .

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Three steps

“This regulation stipulates the same sustainability, safety and circularity requirements”, summarizes on his LinkedIn account Pascal Canflin, MEP and President of the Committee on the Environment in the European Parliament. There will be three steps for this.

The first will start in a year and a half. In fact, from July 2024“The carbon footprint of every battery placed on the European market must be declared” in the case of electric vehicles, indicates the MEP.

Then, environmental performance categories will be established, starting in 2026 for electric vehicle batteries.

Pascal CanflinMember of the European Parliament and President of the Committee on the Environment in the European Parliament

Last deadline, finally: 2027. As of this date, only electric vehicle batteries that do not exceed the maximum carbon footprint threshold can be sold on the European market.

Towards the elimination of non-rechargeable batteries

Manufacturers also have to submit to another obstacle in terms of battery collection. So, at least 45% of portable batteries need to be collected by 2023, 63% by 2027 and 73% by 2030.

Minimum levels of cobalt (16%), lead (85%), lithium (6%) and nickel (6%) recovered from manufacturing and consumer waste must be reused in new batteries.

“By December 31, 2030, the Commission shall assess the desirability of discontinuing the use of non-rechargeable portable batteries for general use”, concluded the press release from the Parliament.

It should be noted that this is, however, a temporary law. Parliament and the Council must formally approve the agreement before it can be implemented.

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