July 14, 2022: Battery Council International urged US environment chiefs on July 11 to strengthen battery collection and recycling processes and to raise the standards of labelling for all battery chemistry products.
BCI’s call came in response to a June 9 request for information from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on how to develop best practices for battery collection, recycling and labelling.
BCI has long campaigned for better practices governing the labelling and collection of lead and lithium batteries. The addition of lithium batteries into a lead battery breaker causes potential fatal explosions when sulfuric acid mixes with lithium.
However, BCI warned it would be “counterproductive to adopt guidelines or requirements that could interrupt the existing, extremely successful, and industry-funded retail collection network for lead batteries”.
BCI said improved labelling would reduce the cross-contamination in recycling that leads to safety hazards, increased processing costs, and reduces the quality of recovered materials.
The trade body said all batteries, regardless of chemistry, should have labels “with a consistent and simple marking to encourage and aid recycling”.
On the lead battery industry’s recycling record, the EPA acknowledged that lead acid batteries “are manufactured with antimony, a critical mineral, and are currently recycled at a high rate”
The EPA stressed that its focus was on improvements for battery chemistries that have a lower recovery level of critical minerals.
BCI executive vice president Roger Miksad said in a letter last year to US energy secretary Jennifer Granholm, following the February 25 confirmation of her appointment: “Unlike other battery chemistries that are manufactured overseas or rely on imported materials, the US lead battery recycling industry supplies 73% of the lead needed by the US lead battery manufacturers, who in turn manufacture an estimated 90% of the lead batteries sold here.”
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