Blog | November 14, 2018

Lead Battery Industry Celebrates America Recycles Day November 15

Lead battery industry community involvement in highway cleanupGopher Resource employees celebrate America Recycles Day with Adopt-A-Highway clean-up activities.

If you’re a frequent visitor to our site, you know that lead batteries are the most recycled consumer product in the United States with a 99.3 percent recycling rate, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. That surpasses newspapers, glass and even aluminum cans.

With its near-perfect recycling rate, lead batteries remain the most sustainable battery chemistry available when compared to other battery technologies used in transportation and energy storage, such as lithium-ion batteries (estimated at less than 5 percent). So when the Keep America Beautiful program announced the America Recycles Day 2018 initiative, we knew we wanted to share our story again.

“We’re proud of the industry’s state-of-the-art closed-loop collection and recycling system,” said Kevin Moran, executive vice president of Battery Council International (BCI). “It’s a great example of a circular economy. Rather than make-use-dispose, we’re able to recover all elements of the battery and reuse them repeatedly, keeping them in use for as long as possible.”

How BCI Member Companies Will Celebrate

Many BCI members, such as Gopher Resource, will take special actions to observe America Recycles Day. Gopher Resource is a leading North American lead battery recycler, with facilities in Eagan, Minn., and Tampa, Fla. Ray Krantz, Gopher’s director of business development, said Eagan employees will remove trash from a nearby highway, as part of the Adopt a Highway program.

Gopher Resource is an active member and participant in the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful initiative.

Gopher Resource is an active member and participant in the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful initiative.

“As a lead battery recycler, we recycle seven days a week, 24 hours a day. But for America Recycles Day, we want to help the community and be more visible, so we’ve adopted a two-mile stretch of highway and will collect trash there,” explained Krantz, based in Eagan. He added that the company’s Tampa facility has adopted a local recreational park that employees clean on a quarterly basis.

For the past 15 years, Gopher Resource has also operated The Dakota County Recycling Zone, a recycling center near the company’s Eagan campus, for community members. The center provides safe, convenient recycling of select household waste, electronics and general recyclable items that would otherwise load up landfills. Gopher offers its services and staff to sort materials and find the right places for reuse or recycling.

“It’s a service we offer the county, just to be partners with the city and community. Even though it’s one of the smallest hazardous household waste facilities in the Minneapolis metro area, it has the highest vehicle traffic of any such facility.” Another unique service offered at the recycling facility is its reuse center, explained Krantz.

“If paint, chemicals and other still-useable items are dropped off, we put them on shelves in the recycling center – a section we call the Reuse Area – where Dakota County residents can shop for free.” The company has plans to expand the overall operation and give the reuse center more of a retail look.

Recycling electronics at the Dakota County Recycling Zone.

Gopher Resource employees recycling electronics at the Dakota County Recycling Zone.

It Takes a Village

No matter how you plan to celebrate America Recycles Day, please remember to recycle every day. And thank you to the vast network of people and businesses that contribute to making lead battery recycling a success.

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Venkat Srinivasan from the Argonne Collaborative Center

The lead acid battery ... is legendary. We can recycle 95+ percent of [these] batteries all across the world. It's a very safe chemistry, ... [and] we understand how to use it very, very well.

Dr. Venkat Srinivasan, Director, Argonne Collaborative Center for Energy Storage Science