Waste regulations: labeling of batteries

The new EU waste regulations provide for energy and eco-design labels for batteries similar to those of refrigerators, with information on their durability or shock resistance.

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Batteries drive the modern world. They provide us with the energy we need and determine the future of sustainable mobility. But their management and proper treatment, so as to recover the valuable components they contain and minimize their environmental impact, represents a challenge.

Europe wants to extend the life of these devices, facilitate their recycling or reuse and prevent them from reaching landfills. This requires detailed information on each battery along its entire value chain, , from the origin of the materials that make up the battery and its energy efficiency to its charging capacity. Information that allows all stakeholders (manufacturers, consumers, recyclers, etc.) to make sustainable decisions regarding their handling and treatment as waste at the end of their useful life.

What to do with used batteries?

Battery consumption has increased considerably in recent years. These devices are used in a wide variety of applications ranging from electrical and electronic devices such as computers or cell phones, components for electric cars and light electric vehicles such as bicycles and scooters, energy storage, as well as for industrial uses. In addition, the World Economic Forum forecasts a significant increase in demand, mainly due to the growth of electric transport in the transition to clean energy.

Its composition includes elements from finite resources, some of which are scarce in Europe, such as cobalt, lithium or graphite, which the European Commission considers to be as essential raw materials.. Thus, when a battery reaches the end of its useful life, it must be properly managed for two main reasons:

  • recovering these valuable materials for reuse, and
  • minimize their danger to the environment and human health.

Once sorted according to composition and hazardousness, waste batteries are transferred to authorized treatment plants. Applying the waste hierarchy, the plants recover valuable components, mainly metals, which are reincorporated into new batteries or other production processes (secondary raw materials), thus contributing to the circular economy. Components that cannot be recycled can be treated for recovery, generating the minimum possible amount of waste for landfill disposal.

In Spain, within the framework of extended producer responsibility, the producer is responsible for the collection and management of waste batteries placed on the market. Battery producers are the ones who organize and finance the treatment and recycling of this waste collected in authorized facilities.

Article 20 of Law 7/2022 on waste and contaminated soils for a circular economy establishes that when waste is delivered to an intermediate manager or dealer, the responsibility of the initial producer or other holder of the waste ends when the complete and final treatment is duly documented.

New EU rules for battery labeling

Among its strategies and measures to promote the circular economy, the EU is proposing new standards for batteries in electric vehicles and mobile devices to make them more durable and easier to handle and repair.

From June 20, 2025, cell phones and tablets placed on the European market will have to display an AG-scale energy label with information on their energy efficiency, battery life , dust and water protection and resistance to accidental drops or scratches.

This is also the first time that a product marketed in the EU will have to include a label with a repairability score, which will show how easy it is to repair. The aim of this energy label for electronic devices is to promote sustainable consumption and help consumers make more informed purchasing decisions when buying these products.

Under the new Energy Labeling Regulation, mobile devices and tablets marketed in the EU will have to display information on their energy efficiency, battery life, dust and water protection and resistance to accidental drops. Source: European Commission.

Ecodesign regulations for electronic devices

The minimum requirements of the recently approved EU Eco-Design Regulation include the requirement to design longer-lasting batteries. They must withstand at least 800 charge and discharge cycles while maintaining 80% of their initial capacity .

Rules on disassembly and repair also apply, including the obligation for producers to design the devices so that the batteries can be easily removed without damaging the product, as well as to provide instructions so that this can be done safely.

In addition, they must supply spare parts in a timely manner and for at least seven years after the end of model sales. These new rules will help optimize the use and facilitate the recycling of critical raw materials.

The 'sustainability passport' for electric vehicle batteries

As for batteries in electric mobility available on the EU market, from February 2027 they will have to include a "battery passport" that will provide a complete overview of their life cycle. This will be identified by a QR code and will contain a wide range of information, including the expected lifetime or operational life of the battery, the origin of its components, as well as details on its production or maintenance history. The responsibility for providing and updating this information lies with the party placing the battery on the market.

Digital battery passports will serve as a tool to increase transparency and promote a circular battery value chain. This will facilitate communication and collaboration throughout the supply chain, sharing crucial data to optimize battery usage and ensure efficient recycling.

The regulation establishes mandatory minimum levels of materials recovered from waste batteries for different time periods. As well as minimum percentages of recycled content from manufacturing and consumer waste for use in new batteries.

In line with European circularity objectives, the Green Deal and the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, the recovery of valuable components contained in batteries at the end of their useful life and the procurement of secondary raw materials means that the materials remain in the economy for as long as possible. This reduces the need for new raw materials.

Extending the life of batteries, making them last longer, and promoting their repair reduces the demand for virgin raw materials andalso reduces the generation of electronic waste. This makes the economy more sustainable and efficient in the use of natural resources. All these measures "help to make the EU economy more circular, save energy, reduce our carbon footprint, support circular business models and deliver the benefits of the European Green Deal to consumers," say the EC.


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