25 Oct 2021

DIGITALEUROPE's position paper on the proposed Batteries Regulation

Executive Summary

DIGITALEUROPE appreciates the opportunity to comment on the landmark revision of the EU Battery Directive 2013/56/EU and notes with appreciation the ambition and significant innovative thinking in the proposed revision. Batteries will play a crucial part in the digitalisation and electrification of a circular economy. DIGITALEUROPE members drive forward many of the innovations related to battery-containing devices, which will be so crucial in the servitisation and dematerialisation aspects of the transition towards a circular economy. At the same time, the environmental challenges associated with batteries need creative solutions that will keep up with the innovation of the years to come.

The proposed Batteries Regulation comes at an important time for the batteries market and manufacturers using batteries in their devices. In this position paper, DIGITALEUROPE offers concrete recommendations for the EU institutions to consider as they negotiate this proposal.

Key priorities

In particular, DIGITALEUROPE points out four priorities:

1. Support for the new wording of removability and replaceability (Art. 11)

  • DIGITALEUROPE believes that the proposed Regulation has found a good balance. It ensures environmental protection and takes into account the significant innovation in battery and ICT technology by requiring all waste batteries at the product’s end of life, and removable during the lifetime of the product when the expected lifetime of the battery is less than that of the product.
  • DIGITALEUROPE recognises the difficulty in developing appropriate and reliable methodologies to calculate expected lifetimes ex ante and stands ready to support the European institutions in developing such guidelines. Given the anticipated short period between adoption and entry into force, and the lack of methodologies to calculate lifetimes, we ask for an adequate transition period of 12 months to allow manufacturers to put together all necessary documentation to demonstrate conformity, or, respectively 24 months to implement new engineering solutions and designs.
  • Art. 11(2)(b) may want to consider the integration of batteries below a certain small size, e.g 400 mAh or coin cell batteries.

2. Labelling requirements to be unambiguous, simplified and on feasible timelines:

  • In the current proposal, the CE mark is required as of January 2022 and the QR code as of 2023. DIGITALEUROE recommends the same implementation timeline for both markings. It is unrealistic to expect manufacturers to be able to align their entire supply chain for a large part of their product portfolio to implement a new mark without a transition timeline. Manufacturers need at least 12 months after entry into force to implement markings and labellings.
  • DIGITALEUROPE believes that most of the labels and markings should be hosted digitally. We otherwise support the proposal in clarifying that the wheelie bin, CE mark, and QR code are all subject to similar obligations, namely, they should be legible, visible and indelible, and they should all be subject to an exemption if size or nature of battery warrants it. Other marking or labelling requirements should be aligned with this. In case of an exemption, the manufacturer should have a choice between putting the labels on either the documentation or the packaging, and not both. In case of coin cell batteries, it should be clear that additional labelling is not going to fit on the battery itself.

3. Collection targets to be realistic yet ambitious:

  • DIGITALEUROPE and many other industry associations have continuously provided evidence for “Available for Collection” as the more appropriate methodology to calculate collection targets. Otherwise, the targets set out in the proposal are not realistic to achieve.

4. Full alignment with the New Legislative Framework

  • A number of requirements across Art. 18, 38 following and Annex VI and VIII do not align with NLF and Blue Guide best practice and need to be adjusted.

The proposal breathes significant policy innovation. DIGITALEUROPE sees the need for strong harmonisation of the proposal at hand with upcoming regulatory initiatives. In the interest of avoiding a fragmented Single Market, DIGITALEUROPE supports setting the environmental ambitions and detailed requirements at a European level through a Regulation.

Please find detailed recommendations on specific provisions of the proposal in the PDF version of the paper.

For more information, please contact:
Hugh Kirk
Senior Manager for Consumer, IP and Platforms Policy
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