Green Light for Guatemala
Central America has a new environmentally sound lead acid battery recycling plant following the news that Acumuladores Iberia S.A. has successfully secured a licence from the Guatemalan Government to import used lead acid batteries. This gives the Central American region, which was previously only served by a handful of plants in Mexico, a major environmental and commercial boost.
The Acumuladores Iberia plant located in Guatemala City currently processes 120,000 used lead acid batteries, but has potential to process an additional 1,200,000 units each year. This is expected to create 150 new ‘green’ jobs making a significant contribution to the local economy whilst providing a valuable economic and environmentally sound service to the whole region.
Work to share knowledge and provide guidance to Acumuladores Iberia S.A. is the most recent example of the Lead Industry’s ongoing programme, Lead Action 211 (LA21), aimed at ensuring sustainable use and disposal of its products through sound health, safety and environmental performance.
This practical programme of support, managed by the International Lead Association (ILA) representing many of the world’s leading lead producers, is playing a significant role in ensuring a responsible approach to the product stewardship and risk management of lead in less developed countries. Expert advice and support provided by the International Lead Management Center is a key part of the LA21 programme.
Their ‘hands-on’ approach working directly with plant personnel, the Basel Secretariat and the Government of Guatemala over a 12 month period made a major contribution to the plant’s achievement of full conformance with the Basel Convention Technical Guidelines through the agreed Regional Strategy for the Environmentally Sound Management and Recovery of Used Lead Acid Batteries1.
Particular activities where intervention has resulted in positive change include materials handling, waste management improvements and occupational health practices.
Over 90% of lead used in all applications is recyclable and lead acid batteries3 account for about 80% of the 8 million tonnes of lead used each year around the world.
Used lead acid batteries are an important and valuable resource of secondary lead. If managed properly, the constituents of the batteries, such as the lead, lead oxides and sulfuric acid and even the battery cases can all be recycled and will pose no threat to human health and the environment.