The new Batteries Regulation is part of a suite of EU led initiatives designed to achieve the targets set out under the European Green Deal. The targets aim to make Europe the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050. The new Regulation lays down requirements on sustainability, safety, labelling, due diligence, and green public procurement of all types of batteries placed, made available or put into service on the EU market. It also lays down minimum requirements for extended producer responsibility, the collection and treatment of waste batteries and for reporting.
The Regulation came into force on 17 August 2023 and applies to all manufacturers, importers and distributors of all battery types on the EU market. Some of the headline measures are:
Restrictions on hazardous substances and labelling requirements
The Batteries Regulation restricts the use of mercury, cadmium, and lead in batteries.
Manufacturers must provide a ‘carbon footprint declaration’ for all electric vehicle batteries, rechargeable industrial batteries with capacity greater than 2kWh, and ‘light means of transport’ batteries, detailing their carbon footprint performance and other information.
The Regulation also provides for the introduction of an electronic 'battery passport' and QR codes for all batteries. The battery passport must provide information on the performance, durability and chemical composition of the battery for which it is created.
Due diligence requirements
The Regulation mandates that all economic operators, excluding SMEs, who place or bring batteries into service on the EU market must carry out due diligence to ensure materials used in their production are sourced and processed responsibly. Large economic operators will have to verify the source of raw materials used in the manufacture of batteries and provide this information to the relevant national authority. The national authority will periodically perform audits on due diligence records and policies.
The Regulation provides that economic operators must incorporate this due diligence into contracts with suppliers. The Regulation also requires them to implement mitigating measures to address any adverse effects on the environment which emanate from their supply chain. Economic operators will also have to maintain a record of certain information regarding their suppliers.
Waste management requirements
The Regulation covers the entire lifecycle of batteries. It establishes end of life requirements. These requirements include collection obligations aimed at maximising the recovery of materials along with extended producer responsibilities. As part of the electronic battery passport, every battery will have to specify the recycled content within the battery with certain prescribed minimum standards.
The Regulation requires that all waste batteries are collected free of charge from the end user by economic operators placing them on the market. The targeted collection rates for portable batteries are:
- 45% by 2023,
- 63% by the end of 2027,
- 73% by the end of 2030, and
- 61% of ‘light means of transport’ batteries by 2031
The new Regulation exemplifies the circular economy objectives underpinning the European Green Deal and reflects the EU’s commitment to ensuring a safer and more sustainable supply chain for battery production and use. Batteries are a key component of the EU’s decarbonisation strategy and will replace the use of fossil fuels.
For manufacturers, importers, producers, and suppliers of batteries, it is important to be familiar with the requirements of the Regulation. There is a broad range of matters that must be complied with and these will be introduced incrementally in the coming years.
For more information on the impact the Batteries Regulation could have on your business, please contact a member of our Planning & Environment team.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.