European battery recycling organisation views electric vehicle battery management as great challenge

Eucobat, the umbrella association of the most important collective systems for battery recycling in Europe, believes that the magnitude of the collection of batteries from electric vehicles in the next two years will be one of the greatest challenges facing the sector. The association, which held its annual general meeting, hosted by Ecopilas, in Seville last week, has also analysed new European environmental policies and the reform of the Directive on batteries, which is already in force.

Eucobat has decided to implement specific measures to address the issue of electric vehicle batteries and will analyse factors such as the financing of the management of this waste type, safety in transportation, preparation for reuse and recycling. For this purpose, the organisation will hold a specific congress on this emerging market next June. Norway, which currently has the highest number of electric vehicles in Europe, will host the event. One of every three vehicles sold in Norway in 2018 was an electric vehicle.

The general meeting of Eucobat, of which Ecopilas is a founding member, also saw debate on the main issues affecting the sector, such as the application of the regulations of the Agreement on the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) and the review of safety instructions which must be provided to collection points. Both of these matters are very related to the increase of Li- ion batteries in the stream of waste collected. According to Ecopilas, this stream increased by 137% from 2010 to 2017, owing to the proliferation of the use of these types of batteries in electronic devices.

The meeting also served for analysis of new European policies in the area of the environment and the circular economy, and examination of the Directive on the management of waste batteries. In this respect, Eucobat believes it necessary to establish new calculation criteria based on the batteries available for collection and not on the average placed on the market in the preceding three years, as set out in the current Directive. Indeed, based on a recently published study carried out by Eucobat all over Europe, the average service life of these types of products is now 5.2 years.