Despite the shift in hand-held devices for rechargeable solutions, alkaline batteries still remain one of the most popular energy sources. Available in a variety of sizes from A, AAA, to the more specialist AAAA batteries, the reasons the demand for alkaline batteries is still so high is because they provide a higher discharge, are economical, and have a long storage life.
However, the latest EU regulation as part of its wider strategy for a climate-neutral, resource-efficient EU economy could impact the alkaline battery market. The European Commission says that introducing more sustainable batteries to the market is key to the zero-pollution targets set out in the European Green Deal, as well as helping to establish the EU as a competitive market for greener energy.
The Commission proposes to impose legal requirements for all batteries (industrial, automotive, electric vehicle, and portable) that are placed on the EU market, including:
- The use of responsibly sourced materials
- Restricted use of hazardous substances
- A minimum proportion of battery content to be made up of recycled materials
- Carbon footprint, performance and durability labelling
From January 2022, there will be significant requirements covering manufacturing, design, labelling, collection and recycling. Undeniably, these measures have the potential to have a substantial impact on the market for batteries in the EU, including improving sustainability, circularity and transparency across the whole of the product chain.
To achieve the EU’s ambitious goals the battery market requires a shake-up. They believe that better and more efficient batteries will make a key contribution, but to ensure stability within the market and retain valuable materials used in batteries – such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, and lead – for as long as possible, the Commission proposes to establish new requirements and targets on the collection, treatment, and recycling of batteries.
In order to maximise the use of these materials, the collection rate for batteries from households must be increased: from the current 45% to 70% by 2030.
There’s no denying the battery market will have to change to keep up with these new measures, but the EU recognises that they are essential for crucial sectors of the economy and society such as mobility, energy and communications.
With its new battery sustainability standards, the European Commission is looking at promoting the green transition globally and establish a blueprint for further initiatives under its sustainable product policy.