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Producer responsibility for industrial batteries and the new EU Battery Regulation

Eu Battery Regulation

The need for electrical energy storage is constantly growing, and the role of large industrial batteries in energy storage and management is emphasised. These developments have brought new regulatory requirements and sustainability issues that must be addressed swiftly and effectively. The new EU Battery Regulation imposes significant new obligations on producers of industrial batteries, especially concerning the collection and recycling of batteries.

Anders Blomqvist, CEO of Celltech Oy, leads a working group committed to establishing a producer organisation in Finland to meet these new requirements. In this article, we will take a closer look at what these changes mean and how Celltech Oy aims to be a pioneer in the recycling of industrial batteries.

New EU Batteries Regulation – what does it mean for industrial batteries?

The EU Batteries Regulation, which entered into force in February 2024, introduces extended producer responsibility for all producers of batteries and accumulators, including industrial batteries. Industrial batteries include all specially designed for industrial use and batteries weighing more than 5 kg, excluding batteries for electric vehicles and light mobility devices. The collection and recycling of industrial batteries weighing less than 25 kg is already handled by Recser, the producer responsibility organisation for batteries and portable accumulators, so the most significant challenges lie with the largest industrial batteries.

A producer of industrial batteries is considered to be one who “makes such batteries available on the market for the first time in Finland”.

The regulation creates the following obligations for producers, among others:

Collection and recycling costs: The costs should be included in the selling price of batteries, unlike in the pre-regulation directive, which allowed costs to be agreed with the customer only closer to the actual recycling date.

Comprehensive collection and recycling obligation: Producers must ensure that all discarded industrial batteries can be collected and recycled efficiently.

Joint liability scheme: Batteries must not be made available on the market without fulfilling producer responsibility. In Finland, this means joining a producer organisation established by producers.

Minimum requirements for recycled raw materials: New batteries must use a certain amount of recycled materials.

Celltech Oy’s responsibility and recycling activities

Celltech Oy is committed to responsible operations and recycling. We are registered producers and members of Recser Oy and Akkukierrätys Pb.

In 2023, we launched 665,244 kg of batteries and accumulators. We collected 829,999 kg of batteries by ourselves and through Recser and Battery Recycling, of which 573,956 kg was recycled. The recycling rate was 69%. 

Of this recycled amount, 462 tonnes of metals were recycled, including 143 tonnes of nickel, 49 tonnes of cadmium and 259 tonnes of lead.

Our recycling rate in 2023 was 69%, and we are constantly working to improve this figure to meet increasingly stringent regulatory requirements and environmental responsibility.

However, recycling large lithium batteries weighing more than 25 kg through Recser Oy and Akkukierrätys Pb is impossible, so we have joined in establishing a new producer community for large industrial batteries.

“As producers, we have common challenges ahead of us: The collection must be organised, it must cover the country, and all industrial batteries must be accepted. This also includes informing the customer base and organising recycling in one way or another. Do we even need a specific industrial plant to dismantle large industrial batteries or modules, or how will it be arranged? This is now a common problem for all of us producers,” says Anders Blomqvist.

Establishment of a new producer organisation for large industrial batteries

Today, producer organisations operating in Finland, such as Akkukierrätys Pb and Recser Oy, are responsible for collecting and recycling lead-acid batteries of all sizes and other smaller industrial batteries and accumulators. However, large industrial batteries were excluded from this system under the previous EU Batteries Directive, and they have no organised collection system.

A working group led by Anders Blomqvist has started the process of establishing a producer community for producers of large industrial batteries. On behalf of producers, this entity shall ensure end-users have an easy and free return of all industrial batteries. This is a critical step in ensuring that new legislative requirements are met and that battery recycling is efficient and sustainable.

Seminar and first steps

In April 2024, a seminar was held in Helsinki, where producers of large industrial batteries gathered to discuss the impacts of the new EU Battery Regulation and producer responsibility. The seminar’s key themes dealt with legislation changes and the activities of existing producer organisations. The first steps towards establishing a new producer community were also taken at the event.

Seppo Tokola, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Recser Oy, emphasised that large industrial batteries need their own collective system that takes care of the collection and recycling of batteries. Anders Blomqvist, CEO of Celltech Oy, stressed that producers must work together to find solutions that meet these new requirements and ensure responsible operations throughout the product’s life cycle.

Looking to the future – opportunities brought about by responsibility and circular economy

The new EU Battery Regulation offers not only challenges but also significant business opportunities. Companies operating according to the principles of the circular economy can benefit significantly from their responsibility. The entire supply chain of industrial batteries must be transparent and responsible, which can bring a competitive advantage to pioneers.

Liisa-Marie Stenbäck, CEO of Recser Oy, said that companies that demonstrate their responsibility and efficient recycling system will gain economic value. This is especially important for large companies whose sustainability reporting needs to meet increasingly stringent standards.

Summary

Celltech Oy is committed to being a forerunner in recycling industrial batteries and in implementing producer responsibility. Establishing a new producer community is a crucial step towards a sustainable and responsible future. We invite all industrial battery producers to participate in this important work so that together, we can create a functional and efficient system that benefits both the environment and business.

Contact details

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact:

Anders Blomqvist 

CEO, Celltech Oy 

anders.blomqvist(a)celltech.fi