The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released guidance in May 2023 regarding the application of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to the recycling of lithium-ion batteries.
This guidance aims to assist individuals involved in the generation or handling of used lithium-ion batteries or devices containing them by summarizing and clarifying the complex rules and guidance in this area. However, while the document provides some helpful information, it does not introduce any significant new concepts and fails to address important unanswered questions. Furthermore, it does not present any initiatives to promote the development of a circular economy for the critical minerals found in these batteries. As a result, the guidance falls short of the EPA’s intended objective of clarifying the regulatory aspects of battery recycling and eliminating uncertainties surrounding the materials and processes involved.
The key topics covered in the new guidance document, together with the frequently asked questions on lithium-ion battery recycling, can be found at rcrapublic.epa.gov.