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Lead Battery Recyclers Proudly Share Safety Practices During Safe + Sound Week 2022

August 17, 2022

OSHA Safe + Sound Week 2022

Members of the lead battery recycling industry have good news to share during our nation’s annual Safe + Sound Week 2022, held August 15-21. For example, did you know that nearly one-fourth of industry members’ annual operating budget is allocated to environmental health and safety (EHS)?

The Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR) believes that when a company’s foremost commitment is health and safety, work-related injury and illness are preventable. The industry’s top priority is ensuring the health, safety and well-being of employees, their families and local communities ­– and not just during OSHA’s Safe + Sound Week initiative to promote workplace health and safety programs.

Sanders Lead Company: “Safety first, last and always”

Sanders Lead Company is a great example of how ABR members make workplace safety personal. Located in Troy, Alabama, Sanders is one of the largest recyclers and producers of lead alloys in the United States. It’s safety motto is, “Safety first, last and always.”

The company has made significant investments in safety improvements and ongoing safety operations, including the company’s hygiene facility, personal protective equipment (PPE), improvement projects, safety committee meetings, etc. Sanders finds Safe + Sound Week an ideal time to pause and provide refresher training on risk, personal choice and accountability:

  • Conducting annual OSHA-required refresher training. This year, the company’s focus is on blood lead levels. It’s developed new training tools and scheduled town hall meetings with supervisory and management teams.
  • Using electronic posting boards in break rooms to push safety and health messages.
  • Conducting annual fit testing requirement to ensure proper fit and use of respiratory protection.
  • Developing new materials for “tool box talks” and reposting personal hygiene training materials.

Lead Battery Recyclers Keep Employees Safe and Sound

Lead batteries are essential to our way of life, but they must be recycled properly. ABR members keep more than 130 million lead batteries from landfills annually through responsible recycling practices.

Here are some of the impressive ways the lead battery recycling industry, as a whole, is working to stay “safe and sound,” from head to toe, year-round. U.S. recycling companies:

Employee Safety Practices from Head to Toe
  • Invested, on average, more than $70 million per facility in EHS improvements between 2010–2020, including advanced, high-efficiency air-filtration systems to ensure a safe workplace and minimize environmental emissions.
  • Spend about 23% of their annual operating budget on EHS, including PPE and strict hygiene protocols, like on-site showers and laundry service.
  • Have 10% of their on-site employees working in EHS-related positions.
  • Devote about 15,000 hours to EHS training annually.
  • Implement effective routine workplace cleaning protocols and equipment maintenance.
  • Regularly monitor the amount of lead in an employee’s blood, with thresholds and results significantly lower than OSHA standards.

Lead Battery Recyclers Keep Communities Safe and Sound, Too

ABR’s commitment to safe, responsible recycling is making our communities stronger and our future more sustainable. Today, U.S. lead battery recyclers’ total lead emissions to air are less than 1% of the total U.S. air lead emissions.

That’s due, in large part, to every U.S. lead battery recycler having advanced equipment, control systems, protocols and training in place. These investments (some of which are voluntary) include fence-line air monitors that continuously monitor air quality, ensuring that lead-in-air levels meet federal air quality standards.

A Collective Commitment to Industry Wide Responsible Recycling

ABR members also have a collective commitment to advance best practices throughout the industry. In the spirit of cooperation, ABR members agree to share their knowledge of environmental policies and controls to protect the health and safety of employees, contractors and communities.

With a mission of “Empowering Responsible Recycling,” ABR and its members, like Sanders Lead Company, are ensuring their thinking and actions aligns with Safe + Sound Week in 2022 and beyond.

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The Lead Battery Recycling Industry: Working Together to Ensure Safety and Efficiency

July 6, 2022

Lead battery recycling industry working together

ABR’s Spring Meeting Brings Industry Leaders Together

Representatives from ABR’s member companies recently came together for our annual Spring Meeting. As part of our industry commitment to empowering responsible recycling, we host in-person conferences to foster collaboration and sharing of ideas, best practices and the latest innovations.

Continuous Investment in Safety and Air Quality

This year, the focus was on employee safety and innovative technology to help protect the environment. Jeramy LeMieux, Vice President of EHS at Clarios, spoke about the Clarios blood lead level reduction program. Chris Rutherford, Manager of Environmental Services at Sanders/KW Plastics, talked about new equipment they’ve recently installed to desulphurize flue gas.

Using Data to Help Lower Blood Lead Levels

At Clarios, Jeramy LeMieux is using insights drawn from new ways of looking at employee data to reduce blood lead levels across all locations. “Our focus is to utilize proven solutions, data, and analytics to continuously drive progress,” said LeMieux. In his presentation, he detailed how he analyzed data to find a way to decrease blood lead levels beyond what was previously thought possible, starting with answers to the questions of why some employees and some locations experienced higher blood lead levels. Giving employees enough time and a space where they are comfortable to use the proper hygiene turned out to be key. “If you make a commitment to your workforce and put these fundamentals in place, it will be easier to promote hygiene,” said LeMieux.

Clarios battery recycling guiding principles

Meeting – and Surpassing – Desulphurization Requirements

Sanders/KW Plastics has a long history of safely and successfully recycling lead batteries. Chris Rutherford shared details about their latest equipment and process improvements that benefit the environment. Recently the company introduced a new desulphurization unit at its facility as part of its commitment to environmental stewardship. A flue gas desulphurization (FGD) processing unit, generally known as a scrubber, virtually eliminates sulfur dioxide (SO2) from the exhaust flue gases. In addition to removing SO2 from the air, their process retrieves and reuses the by-products for fertilizer production. This sustainable solution produces approximately 50 tons of fertilizer product per day and is distributed to the agriculture industry.

Sanders battery recycling desulphurization

Collaborating for Continuous Improvement

“Our member companies continuously collaborate and share environmental, health and safety best practices to collectively advance the industry as a whole,” said ABR General Counsel Mark DeLaquil. Strong member engagement in our biannual meetings is an essential piece of this commitment to continuous improvement through collaboration.

“Bringing dedicated professionals together in person to share what they’ve learned can be more than informational – it’s truly inspiring.”

We look forward to continuing our focus and commitment to safe, responsible recycling to make our communities stronger and our future more sustainable at our ABR Fall Meeting.

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International Lead and Battery Associations Join Protecting Every Child’s Potential

June 1, 2022

New York, USA, 1 June 2022 – Four battery associations representing the entire lead battery value chain are joining the Protecting Every Child’s Potential (PECP) initiative, founded in October 2020 to help protect children’s health from lead exposure globally.

The International Lead Association (ILA), Battery Council International (BCI), Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR), and the Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers (EUROBAT) are joining PECP together as part of their joint Material Stewardship Project. The four associations have established a global program to create a sustainable future by championing best practices in lead mining, lead production, lead battery manufacturing and recycling, and by encouraging responsible practices along the entire battery value chain through supply chain management and product stewardship.

The four associations have pledged to help advance PECP’s mission to ensure a future free from childhood lead exposure in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) where capacities, including regulatory, are often absent. In addition to other forms of assistance, the associations will provide pro-bono technical support remotely and, on the ground, to help LMIC regulators and facilities adopt global best practices. This is an activity that ILA and BCI have supported for many years with successful projects delivered in Africa, Central America and Asia.

“We wholeheartedly support the objectives set out by the PECP initiative,” said Mark DeLaquil, General Counsel of ABR. “Health and safety are always our highest priority, and we look forward to sharing our expertise and advice in those countries where lead and lead batteries are being recycled inappropriately or unsafely.”

Mark Delaquil
Mark DeLaquil, General Counsel of ABR
Roger Miksad
Roger Miksad, Executive Vice President of BCI

“The health and safety of children is a universal priority,” said Roger Miksad, BCI Executive Vice President. “We are pleased to join PECP and other partners to support work in low and middle-income countries to help eradicate poor recycling practices. We believe the learnings of the North American industry can be adapted and shared with others through knowledge transfer to improve on-the-ground conditions in many targeted communities.”

‎“When we launched ‎our material stewardship project, with our partner associations, the main goal was to work together with ‎various stakeholders, such as NGOs and regulators, to help improve global standards,” said Rene Schroeder, Executive Director, EUROBAT.

Rene Schroeder
Rene Schroeder, Executive Director of EUROBAT

“It also supplemented another self-imposed initiative from the battery industry, namely the ‎successful employee blood lead reduction programme, launched in Europe and the U.S. ‎more than 20 years ago. Finally, joining PECP not only perfectly completes these ‎initiatives, it also brings the industry’s efforts for sound battery recycling to the next level ‎and EUROBAT is thrilled to be a part of the campaign.”‎

Andy Bush
Dr. Andy Bush, Managing Director of ILA

“For more than 20 years we have provided our expertise in support of projects to improve the management and use of lead in low- and middle-income countries, working with government and non-governmental organizations,” said Andy Bush, Managing Director of ILA.

“ILA is therefore delighted to join PECP, working alongside committed partners, to help protect both workers and communities from lead exposures. PECP aligns closely with our own material stewardship program, which is promoting the adoption of safe and responsible battery recycling in all regions of the world.”

The four battery associations call on other private sector stakeholders to join the PECP and advance its important vision: a future free of childhood lead exposure.

Private sector partnership is crucial to tackling the global health crisis of lead exposure harming 1 in 3 children globally, as recently highlighted in the joint report by UNICEF and Pure Earth. Common sources of lead exposure in low- and middle-income countries include unsound and informal recycling of lead-acid batteries, as well as spices, cosmetics and toys.

 

Association of Battery Recyclers

The Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR) is a trade association for North American lead battery recyclers. Its members proudly comply with the most stringent environmental, health and safety (EHS) standards in the world to help responsibly recycle 130 million used lead batteries annually, keeping them from landfills. ABR members supply the critical raw material needs of North American lead battery manufacturers.

Battery Council International

Battery Council International (BCI) is the leading trade association representing the North American battery industry. Formed in 1924, BCI brings together battery manufacturers and recyclers, marketers and retailers, suppliers of raw materials and equipment, and battery distributors from North America and around the world. BCI members are committed to responsible manufacturing processes and have created a circular economy with 99% of its used lead batteries collected and recycled in the U.S.

Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers

The Association of European Automotive and Industrial Battery Manufacturers (EUROBAT) is the leading association for European automotive and industrial battery manufacturers, covering all battery technologies, and has more than 50 members. The members and staff work with all policymakers, industry stakeholders, NGOs and media to highlight the important role batteries play for decarbonized mobility and energy systems as well as numerous other applications.

International Lead Association

The International Lead Association (ILA) is the only association representing lead producers globally, working to create a sustainable future for lead. Members of the association produce lead from mining, smelting, refining and recycling.

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“Lead Battery Recycling Industry: Empowering Responsible Recycling” Video Wins Platinum Viddy Award

May 26, 2022

ABR video wins platinum Viddy award

We are excited to announce that our industry was recently recognized for our efforts to communicate our mission and values – as well as the positive impact of what we do – in engaging and informative ways.

We collaborated with our members and marketing agency, Activated Growth, to develop a video that communicates the commitment of the association’s members to promoting the highest standards in lead battery recycling and, by extension, to environmental, worker and community protection. That video, “Lead Battery Recycling Industry: Empowering Responsible Recycling,” recently won a Platinum Award from Viddy for excellence in non-broadcast, short-form videos for the Web.

“We’re excited to use this video to communicate our unique story visually,” said Rick Leiby, president of ABR. “Most people are not aware of the sustainable impact of our industry and the essential role our recycling facilities have in ensuring we have the raw materials our country needs through responsible recycling.”

The video explores the sustainable and circular nature of lead batteries, highlighting the recycling industry’s critical role in ensuring that lead batteries do not end up in landfills. Instead the industry ensures that 99% of lead batteries are recycled and the valuable materials are captured and processed to support the manufacturing of new batteries. Intended to inform and educate, the video effectively conveys the benefits of the industry to the U.S. economy, job creation, domestic manufacturing and national security – all in just two minutes.

The video is watchable here.

 

About Viddy Awards

Now in its 27th year, Viddy recognizes excellence in the way video is created, produced, and delivered. Viddy is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected awards programs in the video industry. The Viddy Awards is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

 

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Earth Day 2022: Lead Battery Recyclers Invest In a Greener Future

April 22, 2022

Lead battery recyclers go the distance

Focused on the Future

Every day is Earth Day for North America’s lead battery recyclers, and this year’s theme “Investing in Our Planet” is the foundation of what the industry does day in and day out. The work our members do exemplifies a commitment to a greener planet; together they ensure lead batteries continue to be the  most recycled consumer product in North America. Every day, we invest in research, technology, sustainability and improved health and safety measures to make our planet greener and our employees safer.

Looking Closer for the Big Picture

Even though we support a remarkable 99% recycling rate and lead battery recycling is one of the hidden successes of the recycling movement, its model, closed-loop infrastructure is not well known. It may not be something most people think about every day, like putting aluminum cans aside to be picked up for recycling but lead battery recycling has an enormous positive impact on our lives. In fact, it’s one of the most efficient and sustainable recycling processes we have at our disposal to help protect the environment and provide critical materials to make new batteries.

Here are a few ways to think about the scope and impact of our work:

  • North America’s network of lead battery recyclers keeps more than 160 million used lead batteries out of landfills each year. If those batteries were laid end to end, they would wrap all the way around the Earth.
Lead battery recyclers recycle enough batteries each year to circle the earth.
  • Over 350 semi-trucks filled with spent lead batteries arrive at recycling facilities across North America every day and our members ensure they get recycled and turned into materials to support domestic manufacturing.
  • On average, a new lead battery contains about 80% recycled material obtained from battery recyclers.
  • Lead battery recyclers employ highly efficient recovery processes that ensure nearly all the material in a spent battery is recovered to make raw materials for new batteries.

We Are Recycling More Than Lead. Much More.

ABR recyclers transform spent batteries back into valuable raw materials that are used to manufacture new batteries. Nearly all the lead, plastic, and acid contained in a spent battery are recovered, recycled, and reused — plastic for new battery casings, lead for plates and other components, and sodium sulfate for many applications including laundry detergent and glass and textile manufacturing.

Lead Battery Recycling Industry Process

And there’s more — the lead in lead batteries can be recycled an infinite number of times. Learn more about the process here.

Investing in the Planet, Investing in the Future.

We take our responsibility to our employees, our communities, and our planet seriously. That’s why we make substantial investments in state-of-the-art technology and equipment to ensure responsible safety and environmental practices, as well as following a philosophy of continuous improvement.

ABR member companies collaborate and share environmental, health and safety best practices to collectively advance the industry as a whole. This includes not only making voluntary investments in our facilities and our communities, but partnering with Protecting Every Child’s Potential to improve battery recycling practices in low- and -middle income countries.

We’re excited to celebrate Earth Day today and every day.

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Batteries International Interviews ABR President Rick Leiby

March 30, 2022

ABR Logo and Empowering Responsible Recycling tagline

Rick Leiby recently discussed the role U.S. lead battery recyclers have in expanding energy storage by using the highest safety standards and a successful circular economy. Click below to read the full story “US Recyclers ‘Power Energy Storage Future'” by Batteries International Magazine.

READ THE ARTICLE

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Global Recycling Day is March 18: Lead Batteries’ 99% Recycling Rate and Circularity Advance U.S. Self-Sufficiency

March 15, 2022

New ABR Website

Association of Battery Recyclers Shares Impressive Stats, Launches New Website

Washington, D.C., March 16, 2022 – The Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR) wants to share its positive impact as Global Recycling Day on March 18 approaches. Highlights: Our nation’s established network of lead battery collection sites and lead battery recyclers has helped create a 99% recycling rate. In turn, a new lead battery is typically comprised of about 80% recycled material from used lead batteries.

“These statistics are especially relevant in this time of supply chain disruption,” said Rick Leiby, president of ABR. “The U.S. must continue to become more self-sufficient by domestically providing the raw materials needed to maintain advanced lead battery manufacturing in the U.S.”

He added, “Batteries are critical for meeting demand growth in energy storage, for vital industries such as security, data centers, electrified transportation and renewable energy.”

Facts Behind Lead Battery Recycling
ABR represents the companies and the thousands of essential employees who safely and responsibly prevent used lead batteries from going to landfills; and in turn, help promote the closed-loop battery manufacturing and recycling industries. Here are some additional industry facts from ABR:

  • 130 million – The number of lead batteries typically diverted from U.S. landfills annually
  • 99% recycling rate – Lead batteries are the most recycled consumer product in the U.S.
  • #1 in sustainability – Lead batteries are the most sustainable battery chemistry

Circular Economy of Lead Batteries Ensures Domestic Supply Chain
Lead battery recyclers are essential to what makes the lead battery industry a model closed-loop manufacturing system. The industry’s circular economy – and the fact that lead can be infinitely recycled without loss of performance – minimizes raw inputs and promotes dependable supply chains. Today, 62% of the lead needed for a new lead battery made in the U.S. is supplied by U.S. lead battery recyclers.

“Our country’s well-established lead battery recycling system has become the standard for creating a circular economy for all battery recycling,” Leiby added. “In fact, as demand for battery energy storage continues to rise, the success of lead battery recycling is the benchmark for other technologies.”

New Website Shows How ABR Members Use the Highest Standards to Recycle
To educate people about their critical and-often-misunderstood work, ABR has launched a newly redesigned Association of Battery Recyclers website. Viewers can find fact sheets, infographics, videos and more information about the industry’s positive environmental and economic impact using the highest standards in safe, responsible recycling.

About the Association of Battery Recyclers
The Association of Battery Recyclers (ABR) is a trade association for North American lead battery recyclers. Its members proudly comply with the most stringent environmental, health and safety (EHS) standards in the world to help responsibly recycle 130 million used lead batteries annually, keeping them from landfills. ABR members supply the critical raw material needs of North American lead battery manufacturers.

 

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