Time to change the battery: The European Parliament has passed new rules governing the design, manufacture and waste management of all types of batteries sold in the EU. They also show that firmly bonded batteries in devices will no longer be permitted in the future. The backgrounds.
With a clear majority of 587 votes to nine, the EU Parliament approved a revision of the previous regulations for batteries and used batteries. As can be seen from the official communication published on the subject, the new law is intended to take into account technological developments and future challenges in this sector and will cover the entire life cycle of batteries – from design to end of life.
Changing the battery: EU prohibits glued batteries
The new law sets stricter targets for waste collection, recycling efficiency and material recovery. It also adopts stricter requirements for sustainability, performance and labeling of batteries.
In terms of consumer protection, the EU Parliament also regulates the duty of care to deal with social and ecological risks in the new regulation. In addition, portable batteries should be easier to replace in the future.
Users should be able to change their device battery independently
Accordingly, device batteries must be designed in such a way that consumers can easily remove and replace them themselves. Article 11 of the law, for example, states that people who offer products with a built-in battery must ensure that the battery can be easily removed and replaced by end users at any time during the life of the device in question.
A portable battery is considered to be easily removable by the end user if it can be removed from a product using commercially available tools, i.e. without the use of special tools unless they are provided free of charge with the product, manufacturer-specific tools, thermal energy or solvents for disassembly of the product.
The only exceptions to this rule are certain medical devices and devices that are used specifically in environments where they come into contact with water.
Conversely, this means that batteries that are stuck together and cannot be easily removed will no longer be permitted in the future. This is currently the case in smartphones and laptops, for example. In addition, the new regulation could affect the design of devices sold within the EU. However, it should not come into force until the beginning of 2027.
EU Parliament wants to reduce the ecological footprint of batteries
The revised rules are based on an agreement with the Council of Europe on a December 2022 proposal that the Commission already submitted in December 2020. The aim is to strengthen the internal market and promote the circular economy. In addition, the EU Parliament wants to reduce the ecological and social impact in all phases of the life cycle of batteries. For this reason, new targets for the collection of batteries and the recovery of used materials are also anchored in the law.
The initiative is closely linked to the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan and the New Industrial Strategy. After the final vote in plenary, the Council of Europe must now formally approve the text. Shortly thereafter, it will be published in the Official Journal of the EU, which will bring it into force.