The European Parliament wants to ban glued-in and permanent batteries in smartphones, laptops, headphones and scooters, among other consumer electronic devices, to reduce the production of waste and improve sustainability. This ban is part of ongoing efforts by the European Union to promote sustainable production and consumption practices.
German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that legislators have already voted in favour of a corresponding directive in 2020 and are now making new proposals to make regulations more effective. The Parliament believes consumers should be able to exchange the batteries that ship with their devices either by themselves or through independent repair centres.
Under the proposed European Union rules, manufacturers must make replacement batteries commercially available within a device's life cycle. They should also inform consumers about batteries' energy and performance capabilities, shelf life and charging times. Additionally, manufacturers of electric vehicles and other transport and industrial batteries have to calculate and report the carbon footprint of the entire product cycle. Legislators are exploring the idea of extending this requirement to all other batteries by 2025.
“Consumers finally have the choice to opt for clean, durable and repairable devices,” said Green Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Anna Cavazzini.
A lot of manufacturers have, for a while now, almost entirely abandoned swappable batteries in their smartphones to accommodate more compact and premium designs and water resistance, among others. Some consumers, however, argue that non-removable batteries are part of a ploy to get them to upgrade regularly rather than have their existing devices repaired. Whatever manufacturers' reasons are, what seems clear is anyone would be hard-pressed in today's market to find a smartphone that allows batteries to be easily replaced.
Apple, for example, has always taken a strong stance against battery replacement. The company's iPhones are built in such a way that makes it very hard for the average user to access the device's internal components.
This could, of course, change if the EU, an important market, puts its foot down and forces electronics manufacturers to comply with its new regulations. European authorities have already cited how recycling raw materials and allowing consumers to use their devices longer than normal can be environmentally friendly. But it will not happen without some pushback from consumer electronics manufacturers. The report notes that the industry is already up in arms, claiming that the change could compromise the durability and safety of batteries.
The recommendations of the Parliament have quite some ways to go before it becomes law. The legislators still have to negotiate with the European Council, the EU's intergovernmental policy-making body, about it. If negotiations work out, the proposals could pass later this year and be enforced in 2024. Parliament will then give manufacturers a buffer time of one to two years to comply.
The European Parliament wants to ban glued-in and permanent batteries in consumer electronic devices to reduce the production of waste and improve sustainability.
Legislators believe consumers should be able to exchange the batteries that ship with their devices either by themselves or through independent repair centres.
Manufacturers, meanwhile, must make replacement batteries commercially available within a device's life cycle.