EPA requests information on battery end-of-life management

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR) issued a Request for Information (RFI) on June 9, 2022, seeking information on end-of-life management batteries, including their generation, collection, recycling and reuse, as well as labeling standards and current end-of-life requirements for batteries. 87 Fed. Reg. 35202. According to RFI, the EPA is developing best practices with respect to collecting batteries for recycling, as well as establishing a program to promote battery recycling through the development of environmental guidelines. voluntary battery labeling and communication materials for battery producers and consumers under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act 2021. Comments are due July 11, 2022. According to the RFI, the EPA will hold feedback sessions offering stakeholders an opportunity to provide oral feedback. The EPA has posted the dates and times for the feedback sessions on its website — June 14, 2022from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (EDT), and June 15, 2022, 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (EDT). The EPA says stakeholders can stay informed about feedback sessions by registering online.

The EPA states that the RFI seeks information on single-use batteries, also called primary batteries, and rechargeable batteries, also called secondary batteries; all battery chemicals, including but not limited to: lithium-based, nickel-metal hydride, and other battery chemicals; and all types of batteries, such as small consumer batteries, full-size batteries (including electric vehicles and grid energy storage), and industrial batteries used in manufacturing, commercial businesses, and power operations. health, to inform the scope of battery collection best practices, voluntary labeling guidelines for batteries and other forms of communication media for battery producers and consumers regarding the reuse and recycling of critical materials from batteries. The RFI invites input from all stakeholders involved in the battery lifecycle, from manufacturing to end-of-life management, including but not limited to the public, industry, researchers , universities, state, tribal, and local governments, other federal agencies, community groups, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and international organizations. In addition to stakeholders involved in small consumer batteries, the EPA notes that it is also seeking input from stakeholders involved in large format batteries (including electric vehicles and grid energy storage) and industrial batteries used in manufacturing, commercial businesses and healthcare operations. .

The EPA says it has already worked to learn more about proper battery end-of-life management from its past work to increase recycling of batteries or electronics. To build on this information and better inform the development of best practices with respect to the collection of batteries for recycling and establish a program to promote battery recycling through the development of voluntary labeling guidelines for batteries and Disclosure Materials Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, EPA identified several key information categories on which stakeholder feedback would be most helpful:

  • Scope and prioritization of battery collection best practices: Suggested questions provide an opportunity for all reviewers to give their thoughts on battery types, such as small consumer batteries and full-size batteries (including electric vehicles and grid energy storage) and battery chemistries including but not limited to: lithium-based, nickel-metal hydride and other battery chemistries to inform scope of best practices. For lead-acid batteries, the EPA says it is aware that these batteries are made with antimony, a critical mineral, and are currently being recycled at a high rate, particularly from vehicles; thus, lead-acid batteries may not be considered in battery collection best practices. The EPA, however, wants information on other lead-acid batteries, such as small sealed lead-acid batteries that cannot be recycled at a high rate. The suggested questions also seek information to inform the prioritization of battery types/chemistries that collection best practices should target, which will help increase the recovery of critical minerals, while ensuring the safe recycling of used batteries. The EPA is also interested in any existing studies or reports that contain general information about batteries, their collection and recycling, as well as in-appliance batteries and stand-alone batteries.

  • Understand the battery collection and recycling system: To help the EPA better understand the collection and management of end-of-life batteries, the EPA requests information about key entities in the battery recycling process, including all intermediate facilities in the process. In addition to consumer batteries, the EPA says it is also interested in information on electric vehicle and grid energy storage batteries.

  • Information on battery labeling guidelines for reuse and recycling: Under the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the EPA is required to develop voluntary labeling guidelines for batteries and other forms of communication media for battery producers and consumers regarding battery reuse and disposal. recycling critical battery materials. To undertake this effort, the EPA states that it would like to obtain information on the scope of the development of voluntary labeling guidelines and understand existing labeling guidelines on batteries, as well as other forms of storage media. communication for battery producers and consumers regarding the reuse and recycling of critical battery materials, including information on existing communication materials that have been developed on battery end-of-life management. In addition to labeling guidelines and communication media for consumer batteries, the EPA is also interested in communication media for electric vehicles and grid energy storage batteries.

  • Information on the reuse and recycling of batteries communication supports for producers and consumers of batteries: Under the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the EPA is required to develop other forms of communication materials for battery producers and consumers regarding the reuse and recycling of critical battery materials. To undertake this effort, the EPA states that it would like to understand existing communication materials that have been developed on the reuse and recycling of critical battery materials aimed at battery producers and consumers. The EPA would also like to understand existing communication materials that have been developed to help consumers know how and where to recycle their batteries. According to the RFI, in addition to the communication materials on the recycling of small consumer batteries, the EPA is also interested in the existing communication materials on large format batteries (electric vehicles and grid energy storage) and batteries industrial.

Following each category of information, the RFI includes a list of suggested questions for stakeholders to consider when preparing comments. According to the RFI, the EPA is interested in information on small-format, large-format and industrial batteries. EPA encourages commenters to provide any other comments or information that EPA should consider in developing best practices for collecting batteries for recycling, voluntary labeling guidelines for batteries, and communication materials. for battery producers and consumers on the reuse and recycling of critical materials from batteries. EPA asks commenters to include, where possible, supporting data or other qualitative information such as information on barriers and challenges to collecting batteries for recycling and labels. of batteries, successful battery collection programs and battery labels, as well as details of measurable benefits to industry, government, or consumers.

Comment

This RFI is one of a series of RFIs that the EPA issues to inform the development of new programs under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. Other related information requests include the Solid Waste Infrastructure Grant Program for Recycling (87 Fed. Reg. 35200) and Recycling Education and Outreach — Grant Program and Model Recycling Program Toolkit (87 Fed. 35197). Additionally, the U.S. Department of Energy will issue future RFIs to advise its work supporting battery recycling under the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, including several grant programs that support battery collection, safe storage and transport, recycling and second use. Stakeholder input to this RFI will inform EPA’s efforts to develop best practices with the collection of batteries for recycling, as well as to establish a program to promote battery recycling through the development of guidelines. voluntary labeling for batteries and other forms of communication material for battery producers and consumers on the reuse and recycling of critical battery materials.

This EPA request provides stakeholders with an opportunity to inform and comment on best practices for developing guidance and advancing voluntary labeling. Efforts by foreign jurisdictions to address the complexity of battery recycling programs should also allow interested parties to comment as the EPA undertakes these efforts to better understand recovery and recycling from end uses. consumer and industry endpoints. EPA offers, with this RFI, the opportunity to comment on the specific activities of other parties, active in this space globally, to weigh and better inform future actions on this critical waste stream.

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