September 12, 2019: Lead acid battery associations and experts have come together in the wake of a negative report about informal battery recycling which claimed 90% of the batteries that entered India’s recycling industry were processed in informal units.
The report, Loaded Batteries: Mapping the Toxic Waste Trail, was strongly refuted by L. Pugazhenthy (known as Pug), the executive director of the India Lead Zinc Development Association. (See here.)
“This conclusion is exaggerated and totally flawed,” he said. “The sector is legislated and operates under an appropriate set of rules for ULAB collection.”
Meanwhile, the International Lead Association, Battery Council International, EUROBAT and the Association of Battery Recyclers have continued their planning over the responsible use of lead in the battery business.
The four have cosigned a ‘binding memorandum of cooperation’ to promote responsible material sourcing and prevent material entering the market from uncontrolled sources; encourage improvements in environmental procedures and producer responsibility programmes to create market-driven collection of ULABs and responsible recycling; support practice sharing and health and environment standards; and improve transparency by reporting progress.
In a joint statement on September 9, the associations differentiated between developing and developed industries, saying: “In Europe and the US, lead battery manufacturing and recycling is rigorously regulated and takes place within stringent safety and environmental standards that deliver a closed loop circular economy.
“However, as demand for energy storage using batteries is set to grow it could be matched by an uptick in the informal recycling sector in other regions of the world.”
One of the ILA’s most senior experts, Brian Wilson, has worked all over the world in helping to advise businesses and communities how to improve lead battery recycling.
“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,” he said.
ILA managing director Andy Bush said: “The companies represented by our associations are committed to setting the highest standards of health and safety and good environmental stewardship. To be successful in this goal we must widen the outreach of the initiative by involving associations representing member companies with interests in Asia, Africa and beyond.”
BCI executive vice president Kevin Moran said he wanted to ensure manufacturing and recycling of lead batteries met standards worldwide.
“There must be an end to the dangerous and inappropriate use of substandard recycling operations, but this will take time and will require a coordinated effort involving multiple stakeholders,” he said.