What is a Digital Product Passport?
The DPP is a record that consolidates information about a product’s components, materials, chemical substances, repairability, spare parts, and proper disposal. Originating from all phases of a product’s lifecycle, this data serves various purposes in design, manufacturing, usage, and disposal. As of December 2023, provisional agreements have been reached between the European Commission and the European Parliament to integrate the DPP into sustainability product legislation.
Sectors covered by the Digital Product Passport
The European Commission has tasked standardization organizations (CEN, CENELEC, and ETSI) to develop harmonized European standards for the Digital Product Passport system. This initiative extends to the Battery Passport and potential future applications across various sectors, including electrical appliances, textiles, furniture, steel, cement, and chemicals. The scope of this regulation covers, apart from the DPP, ecodesign requirements, and the prohibition of destroying unsold consumer products.
To promote sustainable batteries throughout their lifecycle, batteries must adhere to high environmental, social, and ecological standards. The key requirements include long-lasting, safe batteries that are repurposed, remanufactured, or recycled at the end of their life. Collection and recycling targets for portable batteries are set to increase significantly by 2030, emphasizing the importance of responsible disposal.
In order to enhance the collection and recycling rates of portable batteries substantially, the existing collection rate of 45% must increase to 65% by 2025 and further to 70% by 2030. This progression is vital to ensure that the valuable materials present in household batteries are not lost to the economy. Additionally, all other types of batteries, including industrial, automotive, and electric vehicle batteries, must be collected in their entirety. Furthermore, it is imperative that all collected batteries undergo recycling processes, with a particular emphasis on achieving high levels of recovery for valuable materials such as cobalt, lithium, nickel, and lead.
New requirement for batteries
The new sustainability requirements mandate a carbon footprint declaration by battery manufacturers. This includes mandatory carbon footprint declaration by 2025, carbon footprint classes by 2026 and minimum carbon footprint thresholds by 2028. The mandatory carbon footprint declaration will cover specific requirements for LMT batteries, EV batteries, and rechargeable industrial batteries. The provisions are set to become binding in 2024, ensuring compliance without the need for transposition into national law.
The primary focus of the updated EU Battery Regulation revolves around the necessity to disclose the Carbon Footprint (CF), as outlined in Article 7. Calculating the CF of batteries must adhere to the methodology established by the European Commission (EC) for product environmental footprint (PEF), along with the applicable category rules (PEFCRs), such as those concerning high specific energy rechargeable batteries for mobile applications. Furthermore, the carbon footprint of batteries should align with international agreements and utilize technical guidance from Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) standards like ISO 14040:2006 or ISO 14067, specifically addressing carbon footprint considerations.
For industrial batteries with a capacity exceeding 2 kWh sold within the European Union, the requirement to include a digital product passport accessible via QR code has been mandatory since January 1, 2027. This means that all batteries of this type will need to have information about their origin, components, and carbon footprint in a standardized format, available to anyone interested.
Unique Battery Passport and Future Developments
From February 1, 2027, all EV and industrial batteries over 2 kWh sold in the EU market will require a unique battery passport retrievable using a QR code. As the demand for battery materials is expected to rise with the potential ban on new internal combustion engine cars by 2035, the EU continues to set precedents for sustainable practices in the automotive industry.
Digital Product Passport in other industries
Battery passports are just the beginning of a broader digital product passport initiative. Other industries, including textiles, construction, electronic waste, plastics, chemicals, and automotive, are expected to align with the EU Circular Economy Action Plan. Legislation will connect across various product categories, promoting digitization and assessing environmental impacts throughout product lifecycles.
The EU’s commitment to sustainable practices in battery production and disposal reflects a broader vision for a circular economy. By implementing digital product passports and stringent standards, the EU aims to shape a future where products are designed, manufactured, and disposed of with the environment in mind. As the regulations unfold, businesses and manufacturers must stay informed to ensure compliance with these groundbreaking requirements.