Lead batteries, used in vehicles and as energy storage for emergency power and renewable energy, have been confirmed as the most recycled product in the U.S., according to figures produced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In the latest EPA report entitled Advancing Sustainable materials Management: 2013 Fact Sheet assessing U.S. trends in recycling and disposal, the US federal government health and environment regulator compared recycling rates for a range of products and materials. It found that the 99% recycle rate of lead batteries is the highest recycling rate of all consumer products.
Among the recycling rates listed were:
International Lead Association Managing Director, Dr Andy Bush, said: “Lead batteries offer a truly sustainable energy storage solution and recycling is the driver for this. Many people will be surprised to see that lead batteries are leading the way in consumer product recycling with much higher recycling rates than materials such as newspapers, cans and glass.”
The lead battery is an excellent example of a recyclable product. As well as recovering and reusing lead and all other metals, in the recycling process, the polypropylene plastic battery casing is also reprocessed and re-used for batteries or for other products in the automobile industry, for example in bumpers and wheel arches. The sulphuric acid in lead batteries is separated and can be reused or converted to calcium sulphate (gypsum) or sodium sulphate (soda) for a variety of applications.
Notes to editors
The International Lead Association is the trusted global trade association for the lead industry and its member companies are at the forefront of the mining, smelting, refining and recycling of lead. ILA represents the producers of about 3 million tonnes of lead. The association is working towards a vision of a sustainable global lead industry that is recognised for the positive contribution it makes to society.
ILA takes a leadership role in promoting responsible care and educating society about the benefits of lead for today’s and future generations. Recent studies have shown that lead-based batteries achieve a recycling rate of 99% in the EU and USA.
With offices in the UK and USA the ILA provides a range of technical, scientific and communications support for member companies, downstream users and the wider lead industry. ILA also supports the development of lead-based batteries through the Advanced Lead Acid Battery Consortium which manages the research, development and promotion of lead-based batteries for markets such as hybrid electric vehicles, start-stop automotive systems and grid-scale energy storage applications.
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