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Smith Bill Would Create Framework for EV Battery Recycling Program

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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 Environment Committee today.


The committee also advanced separate legislation to promote the use of electric school buses.


The battery recycling 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.


“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.”


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.


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 vote of 4-0.


The EV school bus bill, S-886, also sponsored by Senator Smith, would create a financing program to provide loans and other types of financial assistance to help school districts purchase electric-powered school buses.


The “Electric School Bus Financing Fund,” created by the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank, would be funded with $20 million annually from the existing Societal Benefits surcharge on utilities and any federal funds that could be secured.


“The electrification of school busses offers a promising opportunity to reduce emissions, reduce energy costs and better protect the health of schoolchildren,” said Senator Smith, who noted that approximately 800,000 students ride on the more than 15,000 diesel-powered buses in New Jersey.


The bill was approved with a vote of 3-1.