Washington, DC—Today, Representatives John Curtis (R-UT) and Paul D. Tonko (D-NY) introduced the bipartisan BATTERY Act (H.R. 8232), legislation that will jump-start America’s advanced battery recycling. Advanced batteries already power countless things from laptops to cars and numerous personal devices used by Americans every day. Today, many foreign sources of lithium, cobalt, and nickel used in advanced batteries often involve environmentally harmful practices and unsafe labor conditions. Recycling presents a domestic alternative that can support environmental stewardship, community and worker safety, and U.S. jobs.
Specifically, the BATTERY Act would establish a research, development, and demonstration program at the U.S. Department of Energy that would support the recycling and reuse of these minerals as well as the safe disposal of advanced batteries.
“Maintaining a domestic supply of critical minerals ensures good-paying jobs, greater economic growth, and security from foreign adversaries who could attempt to disrupt our supply chains,” said Curtis. “That is why I am proud to be the Republican lead of the BATTERY Act, with my Democratic friend Paul Tonko, to help the Department of Energy advance America’s capacity to expand and refine the recycling of critical minerals in batteries.”
“We know advanced batteries will be key to our nation’s energy transition, but America has fallen behind the rest of the world in advanced battery recycling,” said Tonko. “After years of taking these critical minerals for granted, we have an opportunity to support the RD&D that will be essential for the continued growth of this industry moving forward. This bipartisan proposal would jump-start America’s advanced battery recycling and close the loop on materials that can be both expensive and hazardous to source and dangerous if not disposed of correctly. Doing this right will strengthen America’s advanced battery manufacturing, create jobs and raise the bar on worker and environmental safety here and around the world. My thanks to Congressman Curtis, my partner and co-lead in advancing this bipartisan legislation. I urge our colleagues to rally behind this legislation and advance it through the House without delay.”
While Americans currently recycle about 97% of our traditional lead-acid batteries, we only recycle about 5% of our lithium-ion batteries. By comparison, more than 60% of the lithium used in the European economy is recovered through recycling. In China, Japan, and Korea, that percentage is even higher. Lack of safe disposal systems can also cause serious environmental and safety hazards. For example, lithium-ion batteries cause massive landfill fires when improperly disposed.
The BATTERY Act is supported by Earthjustice, Earthworks, Edison Electric Institute, Electric Drive Transportation Association, Energy Storage Association, National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited, and Umicore.