Battery manufacturing and recycling organisation Battery Council International (BCI) published its National Recycling Rate Study which shows lead batteries had a recycling rate for 2017-21 of 101.0% with a standard deviation of ±0.3%.
In its report released on July 12, it calculated a 10-year trailing average for the decade of 99.8%. It did a 10-year average due to significant market disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The last report, from November 2019 and covering 2014–18, showed a recycling rate of 99.0%.
Roger Miksad, BCI president and executive director, told BEST: “The study calculates recycling rates based on anticipated end-of-life batteries (based on sales in years prior) compared to current year lead production – with adjustments for exports and imports. While we have not identified an individual cause, for example it is possible that there was a greater-than-predicted volume of batteries available for recycling, and that could cause recycling rates to statistically appear as above 100% for specific periods of time.”
The lead battery recycling rate for the period is obtained by dividing the total pounds of lead batteries recycled by the total pounds of lead available for recycling in the US.
A lead battery’s three main components (lead, plastic, acid) are 100% recyclable, BCI said. It added US lead battery manufacturers source some 83% of the needed lead from North American recycling facilities. The plastic casings are also recycled.
Starting, lighting and ignition, industrial batteries (motive power and stationary), and small sealed lead batteries are included in the analysis. As secondary lead recyclers record the receipt of batteries by weight rather than by type, it is impossible to determine the recycling rate for each category of battery, BCI said.