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South Africa’'s largest battery maker brings recycling in-house

Fri, 07/12/2013 - 18:36 -- Ruth Williams
First National Battery logo

First National Battery, a South African manufacturer of lead-acid batteries, has commissioned a polypropylene recycling plant at its Benoni factory to recycle cases, lids and plastic components.

The polypropylene recycling plant will join the lead smelter that has been on the site for 14 years to allow the company to undertake recycling that was previously outsourced.

“Recycling is an extremely important consideration for us, not only for the recovery of valuable materials but also in terms of environmental protection,” said Dr Louis Denner, Managing Director at First National Battery. More than 90% of lead-acid batteries sold in South Africa are recycled, which makes manufacturing dependent on the recycling of lead and polypropylene.

The polypropylene is melted down and made into pellets that are shipped to the company’s plastics factory in Fort Jackson to be combined with new materials to create new plastic components.

By becoming fully vertically integrated, First National Battery is able to oversee the entire process – from the recycling of old batteries, to the recovery of materials, the production of new plastic components and high-quality lead alloys, to the assembly and distribution of new lead acid batteries.

By undertaking the entire process of recycling, material recovery and producing new plastics and lead alloys for use in production, First National Battery can maintain quality control throughout the process. “This ensures tight controls are consistently implemented to guarantee the highest quality products are manufactured using the best raw materials available,” said Denner.