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The European Parliament is working on new rules in recycling all manner of batteries, including smartphones and other portable devices


This year the European Parliament has released a series of reports that outline their work on new rules relating to "ethical batteries." Parliament recentlly stated that new rules should cover the entire product life cycle, from design to consumption and all the way to recycling into new products.

On 9 December, Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement to overhaul the rules on batteries to take into account technological developments and future challenges. Once formally approved by both institutions the new rules will enter directly into force.

While the EU Parliament report updated earlier this month never mentioned smartphone directly, the report does in fact link to a companion document that clearly does point to smartphones as being one segment of batteries that will be under new rules. The document reads: "…Batteries to be more sustainable and easier to replace, including those in smartphones." The EU Parliament's graphic presented below places smartphone and notebook batteries under the category of "Portable Batteries."

2 battery graphic from EU Parliament report

The report issued earlier this month briefly covers the following topics:

  • How are batteries classified?
  • Batteries: a strategic market for the EU
  • Limiting batteries’ carbon footprint
  • Addressing battery raw material issues
  • Increasing batteries recycling
  • Simplifying batteries removal and replacement


For those interested in the green movement, below you'll find a short list of other documents from the European Parliament on their coming battery rules and future goals:

01: New rules on batteries: MEPs want more environmental and social ambition

02: Batteries: deal on new EU rules for design, production and waste treatment

03: How the EU wants to achieve a circular economy by 2050

04: Circular economy: definition, importance and benefits

Whether these "new rules" will translate into "new laws" wasn't exactly clear, though rules coming from the European Parliament would likely suggest the latter. If so, the tech sector, including Apple, will at some point in the not-too-distant future, be forced to redesign their portable devices to comply with Europe's new vision for battery recycling.

With Apple being one of the leaders in using recycled materials in their products, the new rules, though challenging, would likely be welcomed by Apple in the long term.  

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