Battery Recycling

Recycling is a big part of the beneficial use and responsible handling of lead and products made from it. Exide Technologies invests in battery recycling because it’s good for business and for the environment.

Today, Exide Technologies recycles approximately 50 million batteries per year, making it one of the largest secondary lead smelters in the world. Exide also is a significant recycler of plastic, capturing the plastic from spent batteries and using it in the production of cases and covers for new batteries. Recycling not only protects the environment, but also saves energy and money on raw materials.

In the recycling process, spent or dead batteries are broken apart and the lead, plastic, and acid are separated. The lead is melted, poured into ingots, and delivered to battery plants to be used in new batteries. The plastic is chipped, washed, and delivered to a plastics plant, where it is melted and made into new battery cases and other parts. The sulfuric acid can be reused on a limited basis or alternatively is neutralized and discharged.

Exide Technologies has eleven recycling facilities, six in the U.S., four in Europe, and one in New Zealand. All of them make Exide one of the few companies in the stored electrical energy industry with the capability to provide Total Battery Management (TBM) in its own facilities.

With TBM, there is no “womb to tomb” for lead-acid batteries, as there is for consumer products that aren’t recycled. Instead, Exide continuously cycles lead and plastic through the life – and afterlife – of batteries.

The TBM infrastructure, consisting of battery manufacturing plants and recycling facilities combined with a sophisticated distribution network for new and spent batteries, allows Exide to manage the life cycle of its products before and after their service lives. Few other industries are as proficient.

TBM produces benefits for customers, for Exide, and for the environment. It frees customers from the regulatory burdens of handling lead and assures them of a continuous supply of batteries made from superior quality materials. It allows Exide Technologies to better manage its inventories for increased productivity at manufacturing sites. Finally, it keeps recyclable materials in the manufacturing stream instead of piling up in landfills. All of these benefits help Exide accomplish its mission to be respected worldwide as the leader in stored energy solutions and innovative technologies.

(Also see Backup Power Systems, Backup Power Vendors, and Power Glossary.)

[From Connection MagazineNovember 2003]

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