Understanding the Batteries Regulation

Understanding batteries

Batteries' development and production are strategic priorities for Europe in the shift towards clean energy. They are also key components in the European automotive industry. The global demand for batteries is increasing rapidly and is predicted to have a 14-fold increase by the year 2030. To minimise the environmental impacts of this growth and considering changes in society, new technological developments, markets and the uses of batteries, the European Commission proposed a new Batteries Regulation in 2020.

The Regulation entered into force on 17 August 2023 and repeals the Batteries Directive (Directive 2006/66/EC). It continues to restrict the use of mercury and cadmium in batteries and introduces a restriction for lead in portable batteries.

It also aims to:

  1. strengthen the internal market by ensuring a level playing field through a common set of rules;
  2. promote a circular economy;
  3. reduce environmental and social impacts throughout the entire battery life cycle.

Restricting hazardous substances in batteries

Article 6 of the Regulation sets out the framework to restrict hazardous substances in batteries. This ensures that substances used in batteries or present in waste batteries do not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment.

By 31 December 2027, the Commission will present a report to the European Parliament and Council identifying the substances in batteries that have a negative impact on human health, the environment or recycling processes.

The Commission can also request ECHA to prepare a restriction proposal in accordance with Annex XV to REACH.

An EU Member State can also put forward a restriction proposal.

ECHA's tasks

ECHA will support the European Commission by

  1. Assisting in preparing the report on substances of concern contained in batteries or used in their manufacturing (Article 6.5);
  2. Preparing, if requested by the Commission, a restriction proposal on substances used in the manufacturing of batteries or present in batteries when they are placed on the market (Article 86). This can happen if the Commission considers that the substance used to manufacture batteries, present in batteries on the market or during recycling and waste stages poses a risk to human health or the environment that is not adequately controlled in the European Economic Area (EEA);
  3. Providing an opinion on the effectiveness of the restriction proposal to control the risk (through the Committee for Risk Assessment, RAC) and the socio-economic impact (through the Committee for Socio-Economic Analysis, SEAC) (Article 87).

The requirements and procedures for developing a restriction proposal and subsequently adopting restrictions under the Batteries Regulation are aligned with those under the REACH Regulation. These include assessments by ECHA's committees, stakeholder consultations, publication of all relevant documents during the different steps of the process on ECHA’s website, and adoption of the restriction by the Commission.