The international secondary lead industry is “a true metallurgical operation” and not a waste treatment plant, according to the chair of the 8th International Secondary Lead & Battery Recycling Conference.
Mark Stevenson opened the conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia, on Monday, and told the delegates they were part of an $18 billion industry. “It’s often not appreciated,” he said.
“Our products are called waste but we shouldn’t call them waste.” He said the term is rarely used in the lithium battery sphere. “There are people in this room – traders and buyers – who will buy it.” Even the United Nations uses the term waste, but that is no excuse, he said.
He added he gets very frustrated when he reads academic papers and journals that are factually wrong, for example an Indian paper stating that there is a 25% recycle rate in China (it is over 95%), or another referring to refinery dross as a waste product. Such papers are then cited multiple times.
“For me, hopefully we can change that and show the world we are a proper industry.”
He said the conference, known as Recycle100, drew a record 250 delegates (later in the day updated to 262), with a further 100 signed up to join remotely a round table on slag on Tuesday. When the conference was held in Macau in 2009, there were 128 delegates.