Battery Council International (BCI) has unveiled the results of a recent study confirming lead batteries as the most recycled consumer product in the United States, boasting an impressive recycling rate of 99%. 

The study, commissioned by BCI and conducted by Vault Consulting, highlights the ongoing commitment of the lead battery industry to environmental sustainability and responsible recycling practices.

Lead batteries are crucial in the nation’s transition to clean energy storage, making their high recycling rate particularly significant. 

By recycling raw materials and reducing the need for newly mined minerals, the lead battery industry significantly minimizes the manufacturing footprint for batteries, aligning with the principles of a circular economy. 

The sustainability of lead batteries is further underscored by their critical contribution to various sustainable applications.

The National Recycling Rate Study used aggregated data from the five-year reporting period of 2017-2021. To account for market disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the study also incorporated data from BCI Recycling Rate Studies spanning the decade of 2011-2021. 

By averaging these figures, the sustained recycling rate of 99% for lead batteries was determined, demonstrating the industry’s exceptional achievements in perfecting recycling processes and circular economy practices.

The lead battery industry has established a successful circular ‘manufacture-use-reuse’ model, serving as a blueprint for newer battery chemistries and other industries. 

All three main components of lead batteries—lead, plastic, and acid—are 100% recyclable, creating the raw materials needed for new lead batteries. In fact, approximately 83% of the necessary lead for lead battery manufacturing in the United States is sourced from domestic recycling facilities.

 Moreover, the plastic casings of lead batteries are also recycled, further contributing to their environmental sustainability.

BCI emphasizes the importance of collaboration among stakeholders in developing robust recycling systems that support a circular economy and responsible battery waste management. The lead battery industry benefits from an established domestic infrastructure, encompassing a wide network of manufacturing, collection, and recycling facilities, including numerous retail distribution and collection sites for used lead batteries.

BCI and its members are actively engaged in ongoing research and development efforts to make batteries more recyclable and sustainable.

 This comprehensive approach underscores the industry’s commitment to improving environmental performance and meeting regulatory requirements worldwide.

As Battery Council International nears its 100-year anniversary as the leading trade association of the North American battery industry, the organization remains dedicated to creating a more sustainable and secure energy storage future. BCI aims to meet current energy storage needs while preparing for an electrified future by collaborating with industry partners, policymakers, and the public.

About Battery Council International:

Battery Council International (BCI) is the premier trade association of the North American battery industry, representing over 125 member companies. 

Since its formation in 1924, BCI has united battery manufacturers and recyclers, marketers, and retailers, suppliers of raw materials and equipment, and battery distributors from around the world.

 BCI members prioritize responsible manufacturing and recycling processes and serve as a unified voice for environmental, health, and safety stewardship. 

With an exceptional recycling rate of 99% for used lead batteries in the United States and an average recycled content of 80% in new lead batteries, BCI aims to achieve similar sustainability goals for other battery chemistries, positioning the industry at the forefront of environmental stewardship.

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