New Basel guidelines on lead recycling set for agreement in 2025, focus shifts to lithium

New Basel guidelines on lead recycling set for agreement in 2025, focus shifts to lithium

New Basel guidelines on lead recycling set for agreement in 2025, focus shifts to lithium 640 480 Batteries International

March 13, 2024: Updated technical guidelines under the Basel Convention for environmentally sound recycling of lead batteries are expected to be agreed next year, ILA senior regulatory affairs director Steve Binks has revealed.

Binks was in Geneva earlier this week working with the UN and other industry experts to develop the updated Basel technical guidelines — which he said today are expected to be agreed at the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention in 2025.

In a report of his meeting passed to Batteries International, Binks (pictured) revealed delegates also discussed new guidelines that, for the first time, will provide advice for environmentally sound recycling of lithium ion, still in its infancy, and other battery technologies.

Work on the guidelines is designed to help developing countries in particular to introduce legislation for managing battery recycling responsibly, Binks said.

“The ILA has been an important stakeholder in providing technical input since Basel guidelines were first introduced in 2003.”

The existing guidelines are more than 20 years old and are in desperate need of updating to reflect current best environmental, health and safety practices employed in lead battery recycling and changes in international laws.

UN technical guidelines produced under the Basel Convention that controls transboundary shipments and disposal of hazardous waste are one of the most respected resources that policymakers and governments use to develop national laws, Binks said.

The Basel technical guidelines on lead and other battery chemistries will help governments, regulators and businesses make the most of the opportunities to build successful recycling operations.

“To deliver a low carbon future the world needs more battery energy storage and lead batteries have an important role to play in applications from transport to mobile phone networks, uninterruptable power supplies and the microgrids that are essential for delivering access to affordable energy in low and middle-income countries.”

Recycled batteries also provide a significant opportunity for countries to generate important raw materials for re-use in manufacturing, he said.

In October 2022, the LeadBattery360° initiative was formally launched by trade associations representing the lead and lead battery industries to help reduce sub-standard and informal lead battery recycling in low and middle-income countries.

The initiative arose from a pledge made in 2020 by the ILA, BCI, EUROBAT and the Association of Battery Recyclers.