Batteries transform chemicals into an electrical energy and are either rechargeable or non-rechargeable. They have a wide variety of everyday uses such as energy storage and powering appliances, cars, and beyond. Batteries typically contain a plethora of minerals including lithium, zinc, nickel, sodium, and lead, amongst others. The demand for batteries has grown steadily by 30% annually in recent years. It is anticipated that this increased demand will require the extraction of around 10 million tons of new materials. As such, proper recycling of batteries and their valuable minerals will be crucial for alleviating the environmental impact caused by this increased demand.
EuRIC believes that all batteries must be collected, and their components recycled at the end of their useful life. By closing the loop, this will reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and dependency on extracting natural resources. Furthermore, their eco-design and end-of-life must be better connected in order to realise a circular economy for batteries in Europe.