MEPs want to strengthen new EU rules for design, production and disposal of batteries
- Stronger sustainability, performance and labelling requirements
- Due diligence policy for value chain of battery companies
- More stringent targets for waste collection, recycling efficiency and material recovery
MEPs say new measures for batteries are crucial for the transition to a circular and climate-neutral economy and for EU’s competitiveness and strategic autonomy.
The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) adopted on Thursday, with 74 votes in favour, 8 against and 5 abstentions, its position on proposed rules to govern the entire battery product life cycle, from design to end-of-life.
MEPs agreed with the Commission’s approach to overhaul current legislation to take into account technological developments and amended provisions in several areas, including the introduction of a new category of “batteries for ‘light means of transport’ (LMT)”, such as e-bikes.
Batteries to be more sustainable, easier to remove
MEPs backed the proposed rules on a carbon footprint declaration and label, a maximum value for the life cycle carbon footprint, as well as minimum levels of recovered cobalt, lead, lithium and nickel from waste for reuse in new batteries. By 2024, portable batteries in appliances, such as smartphones, and batteries for LMT must be designed for easy and safe removal and replacement by consumers or independent operators. MEPs also insist on the need to assess the feasibility of introducing standards for common chargers for a variety of rechargeable batteries.
Obligation for battery industry to conduct value chain due diligence
MEPs want all economic operators placing any batteries on the EU market to comply with requirements addressing risks around the sourcing, processing and trading of raw materials, chemicals and secondary raw materials, which are often concentrated in one or a few countries. MEPs want the battery industry to follow internationally recognised due diligence standards across their entire value chain.
Increased ambition for waste management
In the report, MEPs call for more stringent collection targets for portable batteries (70% by 2025, compared to the Commission’s original proposal of 65%; and 80% by 2030 instead of 70%). They also introduce minimum collection rates for LMT batteries (75% by 2025 and 85% by 2030). All waste automotive, industrial and electric vehicle batteries must be collected.
Rapporteur Simona Bonafè (S&D, IT) said: “For the first time in European legislation, the Battery Regulation lays down a holistic set of rules to govern an entire product life cycle, from the design phase to end-of-life. This creates a new approach to boost the circularity of batteries and introduces new sustainability standards that should become a benchmark for the entire global battery market. Batteries are a key technology for fostering sustainable mobility and for storing renewable energy. To achieve the objectives of the Green Deal and to attract investment, co-legislators need to move for a swift adoption of clear and ambitious rules and timelines."
The report is expected to be adopted by plenary in March and will constitute Parliament’s negotiation position with EU governments on the final shape of the legislation.
In December 2020, the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation concerning batteries and waste batteries. The proposal aims at strengthening the functioning of the internal market, promoting a circular economy and reducing environmental and social impacts 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.