Recycling of e-bike batteries has been launched in France.
The collection and recycling process and as well as a network of e-bike batteries collection centers have been created by the eco-organization Corepile and Sport and Cycle Union, which represents the union of cycle professionals.
In 2017, the electric bike market was growing fast. At the beginning of the year, the French State set up a purchasing aid capped at 200 euros for the acquisition of an electric bicycle. A total of 255,000 e-bikes were sold that year, almost double the 134,000 of the previous year.
E-bike batteries are industrial products, which require every retailer that sells them on the market, to organize the collection and recycling of these products. Till 2017, the overall volume of e-bike batteries that required recycling was low. And the collection process was supported by professional logistics networks (such as La Poste, for example), which also managed the recycling.
But in 2017, when the sales of e-bikes reached new heights, and it became obvious that the number of e-bike batteries to recycle will grow fast, the Sport and Cycle Union considered creating a separate process, devoted especially to these products.
The Sport and Cycle Union has, therefore, approached Corepile, an eco-organization already experienced in recycling “portable batteries and accumulators”.
In this voluntary process, eco-organizations take care of the environmental obligations to take care of electric bike batteries manufactured and sold on the French market.
“Our ambition is to triple the collection by 2020”
On January 1, 2018, the process was launched. To date, with 35 financial partners (which cover around 70% of e-bike batteries present on the market) who pay for an eco-participation and 700 collection points where Corepile accepts used batteries, 40 tons of e-bike batteries have been collected in one year, which is the equivalent of 15,000 units.
Although this e-bike battery recycling process does not have targets imposed by the State, Frédéric Hédouin, CEO of Corepile, explains the future of this network: “In the long term, our goal is to continue to recruit new collection points to improve the visibility of the recycling process and thus increase the volumes collected. We aim to triple the collection by 2020.”
60 to 70% of e-bike battery is reusable
Starting from a batch of 10 batteries, Corepile then collects them for disassembly and separates the recyclable components (steel, iron, or polymers) or recoverable (nickel, cobalt, manganese).
This recycling is provided by two French companies, Eurodieuze (Moselle) and Recupyl (Isère). Various alloys are then recovered (iron, nickel, cobalt, manganese). Other materials such as, for example, lithium, which represents a fraction of less than 2% of the weight of the battery, cannot currently be recycled. At the end of the process, 60 to 70% of each e-bike battery has its second life.
This post was translated from French. The original version was published on Actu Environnement. Photo credit – Actu Environnement.