This topic seems to be an ongoing source for worries and interpretations. At EGARA it’s not any different. But: we discussed this topic more than elaborate with people from DG Environment (they liked our critical questions and comments) and reduced our worries (EPR? Reuse? Waste? Ownership?) to one item: Is a used battery waste or not?
The Battery regulation is currently under amendment. The draft is ready and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) can make changes to improve or change the Regulation
We had looked at the Battery Regulation several times and at the small changes so far, until we spotted a few things that worried us.
Article 47 – paragraph 10 a (new)
10a. Where an operator carries out re-use, repurposing or remanufacturing of a battery, the extended producer responsibility for that battery shall be transferred from the producer to that operator.
Extended Producer Responsibility EPR is an item that draws a lot of attention everywhere and anywhere. EGARA was worried this would lead to no reuse at all as a dismantler will not be able to handle any shifted EPR. Reuse for the same purpose should never mean EPR shifts to an ATF (dismantler) as we don’t produce anything or alter characteristics or the original purpose. This article 47 is about second life. The word reuse does not refer to reuse as defined in article 2 of the Refgulation, which is product reuse. So becoming a producer with the accompanying EPR is out of the question for direct product reuse. In our opinion the word ‘reuse’ should not be used this way in this article to prevent confusion or misinterpretations.
Article 59 – paragraph 1a
Requirements related to the repurposing and remanufacturing of industrial batteries and electric-vehicle batteries
Amendment 350 (new): All used stationary battery energy storage systems and electric vehicle batteries shall be assessed to determine whether they are suited for reuse, repurposing or remanufacturing. If the assessment shows that such batteries are suitable for reuse, they shall be reused. If the assessment shows that such batteries are not suitable for reuse, but suitable for repurposing or remanufacturing, they shall be repurposed or remanufactured.
So, if batteries from EV have batteries suited for re-use, they shall be reused. And re-used, is according to definition above; batteries that are not waste. So the assessment should then decide whether the battery is waste or not, not the fact that the car is waste. This would be in line with the way we select any part for reuse coming from ELVs. We hear some governments tend to see a used battery as waste (why should they?). That would mean two different ways of deciding what is waste and what not. At this very moment for instance France is defining parts selected for reuse from ELVs are products and not waste, to end any discussion or misinterpretation and to actually be circular and sustainable. We should be very alert that batteries that are healthy, not changed in any way and destined for traction in the right vehicle again are products and nothing else!
Waste battery articles
To conclude both articles: Articles 47 and 59 do not consider reuse, they mention preparation for reuse, which is an operation on a waste battery (Article 2 on definitions refers to the definition of preparation for reuse in the WFD). The reuse of a battery does not have any legal implications, certainly not EPR obligations. And EGARA is of opinion that a battery fit for reuse is not waste.
Ownership is another point. So far we are not aware that any batteries are legally claimed. So far the ATFs receive complete EELVs (Electrical End of Life Vehicles). Also the Battery Directive doesn’t mention anything about ownership and only mentions independent -, waste management – and economical operators, producers, recyclers, importers, distributors and manufacturers.
Does this article confuses the reader? Did anyone came this far in this article? This matter sure confused us at EGARA, but we hope, some points are clear now. If we have more info about batteries, we will share and we hope we are informed if anyone has any news about this topic.