In a significant move towards sustainability, the European Union (EU) has announced new regulations that mandate replaceable batteries for all electronic devices, including smartphones, by 2027. This decision, approved by the European Council and the European Parliament, is expected to have a global impact on device design and significantly reduce electronic waste.
The EU’s new rules for replaceable batteries are part of a broader project aimed at achieving zero emissions and promoting sustainability, like mandating USB-C type ports for all devices. The regulations are expected to transform the rapidly growing battery industry, which is key to the EU’s shift towards zero-emission modes of transport.
“Batteries are key to the decarbonization process and the EU’s shift towards zero-emission modes of transport,” said Teresa Ribera, Spanish Minister for the Ecological Transition. “End-of-life Batteries contain many valuable resources and we must be able to reuse those critical raw materials instead of relying on third countries for supplies. The new rules will promote the competitiveness of European industry and ensure new batteries are sustainable and contribute to the green transition.”
While the law technically applies only to Europe, global manufacturers like Samsung, Google, and Apple are unlikely to create region-specific devices. As a result, the law will influence device design worldwide.
The new regulations also include other measures related to battery management once they are discarded. Manufacturers will be required to collect 63% of portable batteries that typically end up in landfills by the end of 2027, and this percentage should increase to 73% by the end of 2030.
Furthermore, the recovery of lithium from spent batteries should be 50% by 2027 and 80% by the end of 2031. The law also stipulates that this recovered lithium should be prepared and recycled for use in new batteries.
The EU’s battery rules are a significant step towards a more sustainable future. They not only promote the competitiveness of the European industry but also ensure that new batteries contribute to the green transition. As we move closer to 2027, it will be interesting to see how these regulations reshape the global design of electronic devices and contribute to a more sustainable world.