In “A European Green Deal”
In its work programme for 2020, the Commission announced its intention to revise the EU Batteries Directive, with the aim to better factor in circularity, improve sustainability and keep pace with technological developments.
The legislative initiative, which is part of the European Green Deal, the new Circular Economy Action Plan, and the New Industrial Strategy (see separate files), will either modify the EU Batteries Directive or a proposal for a new regulation repealing the directive will be prepared. It is foreseen for the fourth quarter 2020 and will be accompanied by an impact assessment.
According to the roadmap published on 28 May 2020, measures considered could include:
- setting sustainability requirements for batteries to be placed on the EU market, including responsible sourcing of raw materials, hazardous substances, carbon footprint, mandatory level of recycled content and durability, reusability and recyclability conditions;
- establishing objectives and measures to improve the collection, treatment and recycling of waste batteries and ensure materials recovery;
- addressing non-rechargeable batteries with a view to progressively phasing out their use where alternatives exist;
- establishing information and labelling requirements for both economic operators and end-users;
- modifying requirements for the implementation of extended producer responsibilities (EPR) obligations.
On 10 December 2020, the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation concerning batteries and waste batteries, repealing the existing Directive 2006/66/EC. The proposal has three objectives: strengthening the functioning of the internal market (including products, processes, waste batteries and recyclates), by ensuring a level playing field through a common set of rules; promoting a circular economy; and reducing environmental and social impacts throughout all stages of the battery life cycle.
The proposed Regulation would establish mandatory requirements for all batteries placed on the EU market (i.e. portable batteries, automotive batteries, electric vehicle batteries and industrial batteries). Those requirements relate to sustainability and safety (including restrictions on the use of hazardous substances, in particular mercury and cadmium; carbon footprint rules; mandatory recycled content targets for cobalt, lead, lithium and nickel; performance and durability parameters; removability and replaceability of portable batteries; safety of stationary battery energy storage systems) as well as to labelling and information. The proposal further includes requirements for the end-of-life management of batteries. It sets for instance new collection targets for waste portable batteries (65 % in 2025 and 70 % in 2030), and establishes requirements to facilitate the repurposing of industrial and electric-vehicle batteries as stationary energy storage batteries. It also defines obligations of economic operators linked to product requirements and due diligence schemes; and foresees the set up of an electronic exchange system for battery information, with the creation of a ‚Battery Passport‘. The proposal also contains provisions on mandatory green public procurement, on conformity assessment, notification of conformity assessment bodies, market surveillance and economic instruments.
In Parliament, following the Conference of Presidents‘ decision of 29 April 2021, the committee responsible is the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) (rapporteur: Simona Bonafè, S&D, Italy). The Committees on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) are associated Committees under rule 57 of the Rules of Procedure. ENVI Committee members held an exchange of views with the Commission on the proposed regulation on 15 June 2021. The ENVI Committee considered its rapporteur’s draft report on 11 October 2021. The deadline for amendments was 21 October.
The ENVI Committee adopted its report on 10 February 2022, raising the level of ambition of the Commission proposal. The report includes batteries for light means of transport (LMT), such as e-bikes and e-scooters, into the scope of the proposed regulation. It strengthens the proposed due diligence requirements, which should apply to any economic operator placing batteries on the EU market, and cover the entire battery value chain. It requires that by 2024, portable batteries in appliances and LMT batteries be designed for easy and safe removal and replacement with basic and commonly available tools. The report sets higher collection targets for waste portable batteries; introduces minimum collection rates for LMT batteries; and raises the material recovery target for lithium. On 10 March 2022, Parliament’s plenary adopted the report with 584 votes in favour, 67 against and 40 abstentions.
The Council adopted a general approach on the proposal at the Environment Council on 17 March 2022.
Interinstitutional negotiations have started, with a first trilogue on 20 April 2022. Two further trilogues took place on 30 June and 11 October 2022.
- EP legislative observatory, Procedure file on Batteries and waste batteries, 2020/0353(COD)
- European Commission, Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning batteries and waste batteries, repealing Directive 2006/66/EC and amending Regulation (EU) No 2019/1020, COM(2020)798
- European Commission, A New Circular Economy Action Plan for a Cleaner and More Competitive Europe, COM(2020)98
- Directive 2006/66/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators
- Council, Proposal for a Regulation concerning batteries and waste batteries, progress report, ST 9052/1/21 REV 1
- Council, Proposal for a Regulation concerning batteries and waste batteries, progress report, ST 14568/21
- Council, General approach on the proposal for a regulation on batteries and waste batteries, ST 7103/1/22
- European Economic and Social Committee, Opinion, Sustainability requirements for batteries in the EU, CCMI/178
- European Parliament, EPRS, New EU regulatory framework for batteries: Setting sustainability requirements, Briefing, March 2022
- European Parliament, EPRS, Updating the EU regulatory framework for batteries, Initial Appraisal of a European Commission impact assessment, May 2021
- European Parliament, EPRS, Batteries Directive, Implementation Appraisal, October 2020
Author: Vivienne Halleux, Members‘ Research Service, firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit the European Parliament homepage on circular economy.
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