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Media Contact:

Brendan McLaughlin, 206.892.8832, bmclaughlin@earthworksaction.org

On December 9 European Union lawmakers passed a new law that will apply to all battery categories, from those used in electric vehicles to those found in portable devices, requiring producers to prevent and mitigate the risks associated with the entire battery life cycle, from mining to recycling. 

The law requires battery makers to recover 90% of used nickel and cobalt and 50% of used lithium by 2027. By 2031, these recovery rates will rise to 95% for used nickel and cobalt and 80% for used lithium. EU lawmakers will finalize the details of this law by passing implementation legislation from 2024 to 2028, and it will replace the 2006 Batteries Directive.

Research from the University of Technology Sydney shows that even under the most ambitious climate targets, more than half of the minerals needed in EV battery technologies can be obtained from recycled sources. 

Statement by Lauren Pagel, Policy Director:
“The European Union is seizing the opportunity presented by the transition to EVs and low-carbon transportation to break away from irresponsible mining, which has disproportionately impacted frontline and Indigenous communities in the Global South and marginalized communities.

“As one of the largest consumers of battery minerals, the United States has a responsibility to follow the EU’s lead in moving away from new extraction in favor of secondary sources of minerals. Congress and the United States Treasury Department should quickly harmonize the Inflation Reduction Act’s EV mineral sourcing requirements with this EU mandate. Together, these can help reduce our reliance on new extraction as we transition to a low-carbon economy.”