Lead batteries are safely manufactured and recycled. Lead batteries use a state-of-the-art “closed-loop” process to keep more than 1.7 million tons of lead batteries out of U.S. landfills annually. It is the world’s most successful example of a circular economy.
In 2014, the EPA noted that the rate of lead battery recycling was the highest recycling rate among other more well-known recycled products such as newspapers (63 percent), aluminum cans (55.1 percent), tires (40.5 percent), glass containers (32.5 percent), plastic bottles (32.2 percent) and more. This high rate of recycling contributes to the fact that on average, a new lead battery is comprised of more than 80 percent recycled material.
The state-of-the-art closed-loop process that ensures lead batteries’ high rate of recycling has been recognized by the World Economic Forum and MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics as the world’s most successful example of a circular economy—featuring the design, production, transportation, recycling and recovery of vehicle batteries.
Lead batteries, at a recycling rate of 99.3 percent, are infinitely recyclable, especially when compared to the less than 5 percent recycling rate of lithium-ion batteries. The lead battery industry’s commitment to efficient recycling methods ensures that lead batteries are an essential part of an energy storage mix to achieve a cleaner, greener future.