Ministry of Environment Unlocks Potential of Waste EV Batteries as Valuable ‘Circular Resources’ | Be Korea-savvy

Ministry of Environment Unlocks Potential of Waste EV Batteries as Valuable ‘Circular Resources’

EV Lithium-ion battery (Image courtesy of Yonhap)

EV Lithium-ion battery (Image courtesy of Yonhap)

SEOUL, Oct. 31 (Korea Bizwire) – Retired electric vehicle (EV) batteries are being freed from their status as mere waste materials. The Ministry of Environment announced on Monday its plan to issue an administrative notice for circular resource designation, focusing on designating waste EV batteries, paper, scrap metal, metal cans, aluminum, copper, waste glass, and glass bottles as circular resources. This administrative notice will be in effect for 20 days, commencing on October 31.

Once these items are designated as circular resources, they are no longer classified as waste and, as a result, are not subject to regulations under the Waste Management Act. 

To attain circular resource status, waste materials must meet two criteria: they should not pose harm to human health or the environment, and they should have economic value, making them suitable for commercial transactions without the risk of abandonment. 

Currently, if businesses seek the designation of specific waste materials as circular resources, they must go through a review process conducted by the Ministry of Environment. Starting next year, the existing application-based system will run concurrently with a new circular resource designation and notification system, in which the Minister of Environment can designate circular resources without the need for applications from businesses.

Circular resources are recognized as such only within the defined parameters of specified objects, purposes, and uses, exempting them from regulations. Concerning waste EV batteries, they are considered circular resources only if they remain free from submersion, fire, deformation, and damage, and pose no risk of harmful material leakage from damaged cells. Furthermore, they should be reusable without the need to disassemble them, or easily converted into energy storage systems (ESS). 

Information about circular resources should be registered with the Circular Resource Information Center ( before they are generated and utilized. When it comes to exports, circular resources must comply with the Act on the Transboundary Movement and Disposal of Wastes.

Kevin Lee (

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>