EU lawmakers have finally approved a new set of rules aimed at making batteries more durable and reusable. These new measures can very well affect our smartphones.
Already at the beginning of the year, the European Union was considering new rules. To extend the life of electronic products and avoid waste. In particular, by banning phones with built-in batteries in Europe. A few months later, lawmakers finally approved new regulations. It will present a new set of challenges for consumer technology companies and battery manufacturers.
These new measures come just one time after Europe decided to impose a global shipping port. Although most of the smartphone manufacturers already use the USB-C port in their devices. Essentially Apple will have to comply with the new directive. And giving up the proprietary Lightning port on iPhones by December 28, 2024.
In the new legislation, Europe declared that it wanted batteries that were easy to remove and replace. But above all I prefer to inform consumers. Three and a half years after these new measures came into effect. So the batteries of our electronic devices must be easily accessible and easy to replace. So smartphone manufacturers can bring back removable batteries.
The new European legislation will apply to all types of batteries sold in the EU. Including batteries used in electronic devices or batteries used in two-wheelers and electric vehicles.
Europe’s goal is above all to make batteries greener. From the beginning of 2024. EU battery manufacturers will have to report the total carbon footprint of their batteries. From extraction to recycling process. The data collected will then be used to set a carbon dioxide cap. This is for batteries that will come into effect from July 2027.
Replaceable batteries will arrive on smartphones
The new legislation also provides for this to better inform users. Batteries will carry stickers and QR codes containing information about their capacity. In addition to performance, durability and chemical composition.
However, Europe should not stop there. In order to improve battery life, soon smartphones and tablets may be required to display an energy label. As already on TVs or even washing machines. This will inform customers about the characteristics of the battery. But also about the resistance of products to water and dust.
So this new designation should complement the repairability index that appeared a few years ago. But it can be misleading sometimes. Unfortunately, since its launch, the Repairability Index still struggles to impress. So we hope that if the Energy Label is voted on in the coming months, it will be more effective.
Currently, the EU agreement only requires a carbon footprint declaration and label for EV batteries. In addition to LMT batteries and industrial rechargeable batteries with a capacity of more than 2 kWh. They will also need a “digital battery passport” which includes battery model information. Plus information about the individual battery and its usage.
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So we are far away from smartphones at the moment. But that should change once the scale adopts the largest batteries. For our small machine, Europe already intends to set group targets. It is set at 45% by 2023, 63% by 2027 and 73% by 2030. Which will greatly reduce the pollution from e-waste.
Undoubtedly, this new regulation presents a series of challenges for many manufacturers. who will have to adapt and change the way they do things when designing their smartphones and other devices.
Some time ago, many manufacturers committed themselves to designing their mobile phones so that the back could not be opened. Something they think of with the interpretation that in this way they can achieve more refined and modular designs. Make better use of the space inside the phone.
challenge for manufacturers
The classic phones, the ones that inhabited our lives before the smartphone dominance, offered many unbeatable aspects. One of them was autonomy: since they didn’t spend much, they didn’t consume much either. Another aspect is the option to change the battery in 30 seconds. No need to take the phone to a technical service, wait a few days and pay a fortune in return. It was enough to remove the case, remove the battery, put in a new one and turn off the phone. did you miss? Well, same thing back.
Usually, if your battery loses its capacity or loses its lifespan. You have no choice but to go to the technical service of your mobile phone manufacturer. So that they are the ones who implement the change. Something that would be easier to do if the batteries were removable. And you can buy one yourself and change it whenever you like.
At the moment, the European Parliament has reached an agreement. But there is still a long way to go for the regulations to take effect. If you finally do it in the proposed terms: the process will be long and open to changes.
Other measures taken:
- Collection targets are set at 45% by 2023, 63% by 2027 and 73% by 2030 for portable batteries. and by 51% by 2028 and 61% by 2031 for LMT batteries.
- Lower levels of recovered cobalt (16%), lead (85%), lithium (6%) and nickel (6%). Waste from manufacturing and user must be reused into new batteries.
- All LMT, EV, SLI and industrial battery waste shall be collected free of charge for end users. regardless of its nature, chemical composition, condition, brand or origin.
- By December 31, 2030, UNHCR will phase out the use of non-rechargeable batteries.
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