TRENTON – New Jersey would be a leader with the creation of a statewide program to provide for the recycling of electric vehicle batteries, under terms of legislation authored by Senator Bob Smith that was approved by the Senate today.
Senator Smith’s initiative, one of the most advanced in the country, has gained the support of the National Resources Defense Council, a leading international environmental organization.
The bill, S-3723, entitled the “Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Battery Management Act,” would require producers of electric vehicle batteries to develop policies and practices for the safe reuse, recycling, or disposal of the lithium-ion batteries used in electric and hybrid-electric cars and trucks in the state.
“The steady growth in the use of electric vehicles is good for the environment, public health and the economy,” said Senator Smith, who chairs the Environment Committee. “We should take the next step by ensuring the safe and responsible management of the lithium batteries that are used to power these zero-emission vehicles. The best way to accomplish this is to create a ‘circular market’ that recycles or safely disposes the batteries.”
Senator Smith’s bill would put the responsibility on the EV industry to create a framework that would facilitate a local market for recycled batteries and their ingredients.
“New Jersey is taking a step in the right direction by proposing the NJ Electric Vehicle Battery Management Act because it will lead to the increased reuse and recycling of the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles. Several minerals within these batteries can be reused to avoid additional mining, but recycling policies are few and far between and it’s up to state officials to create new pathways for reuse,” said Eric Miller, Director of New Jersey Energy Policy at NRDC. “Without electric vehicles, we won’t be able to address air and climate pollution in New Jersey, but we also need to ensure that the batteries that allow these vehicles to run are not causing additional waste and pollution problems.”
A 2018 study found that only 50 percent of lithium batteries that reach the end of life are recycled.
Anyone seeking to discard an EV or EV battery would be able to bring it to a location designated by the producer, or to a recycling center authorized by the DEP, under the bill. The producers would be required to accept the batteries at no cost to the consumer.
The bill would prohibit anyone from disposing the batteries in landfills.
“Strengthening the lithium-ion battery aftermarket will help advance the Biden Administration’s efforts to strengthen domestic production of EV components at the same time we promote a growing market in New Jersey,” Senator Smith said. “We can take advantage of the opportunities created by the national EV policies by fostering a vibrant marketplace for electric vehicles and the products that support them.”
The legislation would take effect one year after enactment, giving the industry the opportunity to put in place the business practices and the Department of Environmental Protection the time to adopt rules and regulations for the program.
The measure was approved with a Senate vote of 34-0.