18 March 2020 - By Niamh Owen-McLaughlin

Unsung heroes: how lead batteries became sustainability champions

Unsung heroes: how lead batteries became sustainability champions

Across the world, recycling remains one of the most important issues in our time. This year’s Global Recycling Day highlights that recyclables, the so-called ‘Seventh Resource’, helps to save 700 million tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, with a predicted increase to 1 billion tonnes saved by the turn of the next decade.

Recycling ties together many strands of society, making this year’s theme #RecyclingHeroes particularly relevant. From household waste and plastic bags, to mass-produced products, achieving higher rates of circular economy unites individuals, organisations and governments. Responsible consumption and production, which encourages the recycling and reduction of waste, has been designated as one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Exceptional recycling is a feature which sets advanced lead batteries out from other battery technologies. The lead battery industries in North America and Europe set a gold standard for circular economy principles with a 99% collection and recycling rate at end of life. In Europe alone, €2 billion worth of lead from recycled sources is being used in European lead battery production. And who contributes to this high success rate? Us, the public. The everyday user of lead batteries, majority of which are used in our vehicles, means each of us is a #RecyclingHero.

Recognition of this high recycling rate has resulted in lead batteries being classed by The Sustainability Consortium as one of the highest-scoring sustainable consumer products. This reaffirms lead batteries as a technology playing a central role in the transition to a decarbonised and electrified future, combining reliable, safe and cost-effective energy storage with high sustainability performance.

As sustainability becomes ever-more important across materials, production, energy supply and consumption, the gold standard of recycling for advanced lead batteries helps to reaffirm the benefits of this battery technology for the future.

Photo: Exide Technologies batteries at M5BAT energy storage project

By Niamh Owen-McLaughlin

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