Mobile Devices Could Face Redesign with New EU Regulations

Handset manufacturers may have to redesign their devices by 2028 if a provisional agreement to require user-replaceable batteries is approved by the EU Parliament and Council.

New rules will require smartphones to have user-replaceable batteries, The rules cover the entire lifecycle of all types of batteries, from design to end-of-life.

In December the Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on batteries and waste batteries. The proposal aims to promote the circular economy and reduce the environmental and social impact of the battery life cycle. The initiative is closely linked to the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan and the New Industrial Strategy

Within three and a half years of the legislation coming into effect, portable batteries in appliances must enable consumers to easily remove and replace them themselves.

Batteries are required to have labels and QR codes containing information on capacity, performance, durability, chemical composition, and the “separate collection” symbol.

The regulation also requires minimum levels of recovered cobalt (16 per cent), lead (85 per cent), lithium (six per cent), and nickel (six per cent) to be reused in new batteries. December 31, 2030, the Commission will evaluate whether to phase out the use of non-rechargeable portable batteries intended for general use.

The next steps involve formal approval of the agreement by the Parliament and Council before it can be enforced.

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