Industry committed to improving recycling standards worldwide
For more than two decades the International Lead Association (ILA) has been supporting the lead battery recycling industry with technical expertise advising businesses, governments and communities around the world on the safe and environmentally sound recycling of used lead batteries.
It works closely with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Basel Convention Secretariat (BRS), the India Lead Zinc Development Association (ILZDA) and Pure Earth, an NGO that focuses on child health in communities where improper informal recycling has harmed their lives. ILA’s projects aim to ‘troubleshoot’ across the globe, educating and informing those working in emerging economies on the best sustainable practices for lead battery recycling, from the Caribbean to Central and South America, to Africa and the Middle East, Asia and beyond to the Pacific Islands.
By working with UNEP, BRS and Pure Earth ILA helps identify hotspots requiring immediate attention. Its work helped establish the framework of the global rulebook for the environmentally sound recycling of used batteries, the Basel Convention Technical Guidelines that employ sound health, safety and environmental techniques and procedures.ILA’s approach is hands-on – visiting sites, winning the confidence of plant managers and workers as well as local regulators through education and guidance in best practices and the safe handling of used batteries. ILA has worked in more than 40 countries and helped advise more than 100 businesses and communities in countries including Senegal, Ghana, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Nepal, China, Vietnam, the Philippines and even as far afield as Fiji. Its mission is to transfer expert knowledge to help both protect people and sustain their livelihoods.
Brian Wilson (pictured), an ILA technical expert for over 20 years explains it this way: “With the ever-increasing demand for more lead batteries, particularly in emerging economies where vehicle numbers are on the up and green energy storage is a major growth market, the need for sustainable responsible environmentally sound lead battery recycling could not be greater.”
Brian’s work is funded by ILA in partnership with the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers (EUROBAT), the US based Battery Council International (BCI), the Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR) and the India Lead Zinc Development Association (ILZDA). Lead batteries represent over 70% of worldwide rechargeable battery energy storage. Lead batteries support billions of vehicles worldwide and provide essential back-up for services ranging from telecoms and data centres, to hospitals.
Batteries are one of the most recycled products in the US and EU, where almost 100% are collected and fully recycled at the end of life. As more countries adopt decarbonisation targets and pursue widespread electrification policies, demand for advanced rechargeable batteries is set to increase.