Lead batteries are designed to be recycled. In Europe, the EU-based lead battery value chain is proven, economically sustaining and operates in a fully closed loop embracing circular economy principles and sustainability.
A lead battery’s three main components (lead, plastic, acid) are 100% recyclable. This creates the raw materials needed for new lead batteries, which are made of at least of 80% recycled material. The lead from lead batteries can be infinitely recycled with no loss of performance and nearly 70% of the lead used in a battery comes from recycling.
A recent study commissioned by Battery Council International (BCI) reporting period of 5 years (2017-2021) has confirmed that lead batteries reign as the most recycled consumer product in the United States and the most sustainable battery technology with a remarkable milestone of 99% recycling rate. This comes to confirm the exceptional achievements of the lead battery industry in excelling recycling processes and a circular economy for lead batteries in United States but also in Europe.
Near-zero waste lead battery model supports circular economy and sustainability in Europe and when compared to other battery technologies, lead battery production has the lowest environmental footprint and lowest production energy and CO2 emissions. The use of recovered lead to produce new batteries is less energy intensive than using primary lead, helping to conserve the finite natural resources needed to support a growing demand for advanced lead battery technology.
Lead batteries are critical for the energy transition and a low carbon future. They are a key part of the mix of rechargeable energy storage technologies, from batteries supporting data centres, and uninterruptable power supplies in hospitals, to renewables energy storage and the auxiliary lead batteries providing safe and reliable back-up power in electric vehicles.
Lead batteries are highly cost effective and are ready to play a significant role in the European energy transition and decarbonisation. It is critical to ensure production is not dependent on importation of critical raw materials to achieve the objectives associated with the Green Deal, Net-Zero and Circular Economy but also to ensure Europe’s chemical policies do not inhibit the long-term investments and plays against the EU objectives. Under this scenario, lead batteries are part of the solution, not the problem.