Lead battery recycling closes the loop

The drive to reduce plastic waste and pollution was the focus of this year’s Earth Day, and recycling lead batteries is one example where effective and sustainable management of plastics is embedded in manufacturing.

Lead batteries collected at the end of their life in Europe and the United States are fully recycled and their components reused – including the plastic casings.

Each year hundreds of thousands of batteries are recovered globally and recycled and made into new batteries.

All lead batteries collected in the EU are recycled, and the materials recovered. Each new lead battery made in Europe contains at least 80% material recovered from spent batteries. It’s the circular economy in action.

Lead battery casings are made from polypropylene, an industrial-grade thermoplastic polymer that is strong, resistant to acids and recyclable. From a sustainability perspective, the lead and plastic used in batteries share similar attributes in that they are both 100% recyclable.

From the start, lead batteries are designed to be remade by using minimal componentry and 100% recyclable materials. The plastic, lead and other materials can all be recycled and returned to the manufacturing cycle for reuse.

In Europe recyclers process tens of thousands of spent batteries each day and return the materials to battery manufacturers. It is a prime example of the circular economy in action.

  • You can find more information on lead battery recycling in the United States here. In Europe all lead batteries collected at end of life are recycled in state-of-the-art facilities across the bloc.

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