Lead batteries still No.1 recycled product in US, study shows

Lead batteries still No.1 recycled product in US, study shows

Lead batteries still No.1 recycled product in US, study shows 804 456 Batteries International

July 13, 2023: Lead batteries continue to be the most recycled consumer product in the US with a 99% recycling rate, according to latest analysis published by Battery Council International on July 12.

The results of the BCI National Recycling Rate Study, commissioned by BCI and prepared by Vault Consulting, show that lead batteries have maintained the outstanding recycling record they have held for a number of years.

And BCI said the industry’s strong circular economy keeps 160 million batteries from landfills annually with a “near-zero waste model of sustainability”.

By comparison, only 50% of aluminium cans in the US are recycled, along with under 40% of consumer electronics and around less than 3% of lithium ion batteries, BCI said.

Roger Miksad, president and executive director of the trade association representing the global battery manufacturing and recycling industry, said the achievement underscored its members’ unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability and highlighted the industry’s enduring foothold in advancing responsible recycling practices.

Miksad said lead batteries continued to be key to the transition to clean energy storage in the US, with the recycling of raw materials instead of relying on newly mined minerals significantly reducing the manufacturing footprint for batteries.

“Lead batteries are critical to our low carbon future by being a critical component in many sustainable applications,” Miksad said.

“Our industry is minimizing the environmental impact of battery disposal with a highly successful circular ‘manufacture-use-reuse’ model. It has become the blueprint for newer battery chemistries, as well as other industries.”

The new study updates aggregated data for the five-year reporting period of 2017-2021. The lead battery recycling rate for that period was derived by dividing the total pounds of lead batteries recycled by the total pounds of lead available for recycling in the US.

To account for significant market disruptions during the pandemic, the study averaged BCI recycling rate studies spanning 2011-2021 to derive the sustained recycling rate of 99%.

Overall, the study confirms the exceptional achievements of the lead battery industry in perfecting recycling processes and a circular economy for lead batteries.

Details of the study and other recycling facts and figures are available on BCI’s website.