by ERP Italia

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The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have adopted their positions on the planned battery regulation, positioning themselves for the upcoming trialogue negotiations.

On 10 March, the Parliament voted on its first reading position on the regulation. In total, 584 parliamentarians voted in favour, 67 against and 40 abstained. The version adopted by the plenary largely coincides with the version recommended by the Environment Committee – including the proposed amendments (see previous article).

Regarding waste management, the Parliament calls for an increase of the collection targets for waste portable batteries to 45% by the end of 2023, 70% by the end of 2025 and 80% by the end of 2030. The European Commission proposed collection targets of 45%, 65% and 70% respectively.

In addition, the Parliament calls for separate collection targets for light means of transport batteries, such as for e-scooters, and for portable batteries of general use. Moreover, collection rates are still to be calculated based on put-on-market volumes and not on volumes available for collection (AfC) – as proposed by Landbell Group company European Recycling Platform (ERP).

On 17 March, the Council adopted its position on the regulation at the Environment Council meeting. Regarding the collection targets for waste portable batteries, member states propose that the new targets of 45%, 65% and 70% become effective only two, six and eight years respectively after the regulation enters into force – much later than the dates proposed by the Commission.

However, both parties agree that the European Commission shall develop an AfC methodology , followed by a review of the targets considering the new calculation methodology.

On a positive note, member states followed ERP’s proposal to differentiate between authorised representatives:

  • EU-wide (for product design aspects considering the internal market), and
  • National (for extended producer responsibility aspects)

This reflects national battery waste EPR setups, which becomes even more important as the Council calls for a dual legal base.

The Regulation shall not provide for full harmonisation in chapter VII (End of Life), but Member States may provide for additional measures on these specific topics.

However, neither the Council nor the Parliament propose clauses requiring market surveillance for EPR non-compliance. This aspect seems to be missing in the Commission’s proposal. Only effective enforcement of EPR obligations would assure a level playing field.

With the adoption of the respective positions, the legislative process on the battery regulation is now entering its final and decisive phase: the trialogue negotiations between Parliament, Council and Commission.

The negotiations, which are expected to be concluded before the end of this year, will require a compromise to be found between the respective positions. The regulation can then enter into force six months later.

ERP is in contact with all three EU institutions and will continue to engage in the negotiations.