EU Lawmakers Approve Rules to Make Phone and Laptop Batteries Easier to Replace

Under the rules, light means of transport batteries and rechargeable industrial batteries must declare and label their carbon footprint.

EU Lawmakers Approve Rules to Make Phone and Laptop Batteries Easier to Replace

Photo Credit: Samsung

EU aims to recover 50 percent of lithium by 2027

  • The collection target for portable batteries is set as 45 percent by 2023
  • iPhone models available in the market has non-removable batteries
  • New rules could force OEMs to bring back user-replaceable batteries

The European Union last year finalised a common charging port for mobile phones, tablets, headphones, and cameras. Now, it has revised EU rules on batteries sold in the region, including making them replaceable. The new law passed by the EU parliament mandates designing portable batteries in appliances in such a way that consumers can easily remove and replace them themselves. The rules cover all rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles and mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and others sold within the EU region.

Last week, with a majority of 587 votes to nine, the EU Parliament approved a revision of the previous regulations for batteries and waste batteries. The new rules cover the design, production, and waste management of all rechargeable batteries sold within the EU and aim to make them more durable, sustainable, and better performing. As per the new legislation, portable batteries must be designed in such a way that regular users can easily remove and replace them themselves. As mentioned earlier, this includes batteries for vehicles, smartphones, cameras, and tablets and industrial use.

According to new guidelines, batteries for electric vehicles and bicycles and rechargeable industrial batteries with a capacity of above 2kWh must carry a compulsory carbon footprint declaration, label, and digital passport.

To encourage battery recycling, the new regulations also place requirements on recoverable materials used in new batteries. The collection target for portable batteries is set at 45 percent by 2023, 63 percent by 2027 and 73 percent by 2030. For batteries from “light means of transport” such as electric scooters, the target is 51 percent by 2028 and 61 percent by 2031.

The EU has also designed targets for the recovery of built-in materials. It aims to recover 50 percent of lithium by 2027, and 80 percent by 2031. For cobalt, copper, lead and nickel, the EU has set a target of 90 percent by 2027, and 95 percent by 2031.

As for the latest rule to pack user-replaceable portable batteries on devices will be a challenge for tech giants like Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi, as most offerings available in the market has non-removable batteries. The new regulation could force smartphone brands to redesign their products.

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Further reading: EU, EU Parliament, Batteries
Nithya P Nair
Nithya P Nair is a journalist with more than five years of experience in digital journalism. She specialises in business and technology beats. A foodie at heart, Nithya loves exploring new places (read cuisines) and sneaking in Malayalam movie dialogues to spice up conversations. More
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