European Union to Ban Laptops with Non-Removable Batteries

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In the race for sleeker and thinner laptop designs, manufacturers have abandoned removable batteries that users could replace themselves. The European Parliament has deemed this unacceptable for an eco-friendly economy and is demanding a ban on laptops with batteries that are permanently glued in place. Tablets and smartphones are exempt from this regulation, for now.

Before these new rules take effect, they must be approved by the EU Council. This is expected to occur this summer. However, compliance with these new rules will only be mandatory three and a half years after approval. Subsequently, all laptop users in Europe will have the guaranteed option to replace batteries in all new mobile computers themselves.

The proposed regulation aims to facilitate the recycling of worn-out batteries and reuse materials, especially those sourced from conflict and social tension zones. Simplifying battery replacement in laptops will ease the collection and disposal of a larger volume of spent batteries and, consequently, allow for more extensive reclamation and reuse of valuable raw materials.

The requirement will not apply to smartphones and tablets. Lawmakers are offering manufacturers a choice to either enable easy battery replacement or adhere to certain performance and durability requirements. In other words, the batteries of mobile devices could be required to be more capacious with support for a greater number of charge cycles. Exemptions may also be made for water-resistant devices.

Additionally, European parliamentarians have set target indicators for the collection of spent batteries. From the end of 2023, 45% of released portable batteries should be collected, followed by 63% by 2027 and 73% by 2030. For “light transport” batteries (scooters and bicycles), the target is 51% by 2028 and 61% by 2030. For reference, in 2019, as per sources, 47% of the portable batteries and accumulators sold in the EU were collected for recycling.

Agreements were also made on specific minimum amounts of reclaimed materials to be mandatorily used in the production of new batteries. However, this provision will only come into effect after eight years. This measure will undoubtedly help alleviate resource shortages if the explosive demand for batteries continues its predicted trajectory – a whopping 14-fold increase by 2030.

Other points in the new regulations include “mandatory declaration and labeling of the carbon footprint for traction batteries, batteries for light transport, such as electric scooters and bikes, and rechargeable industrial batteries with a capacity of more than 2 kWh”. They also introduce a “digital battery passport” for these products. More detailed information can be found in the updated Battery Directive.

Author Profile

Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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