Lee, I think this 98% recycled is a case of very carefully drawing the envelope. I believe it only accounts for batteries that make it though the front gate of the recycling facility.

Here is why:

According to the International Lead Association's figures, lead-acid batteries use 85% of all the lead produced form all sources. (This percentage goes up a touch with each passing year because lead is used in fewer other products.) About 50% of the lead produced is mined, and 50% comes from recycled lead. This is also directly from the ILA figures.
This ~50% recycled fraction has been quite steady for quite a few years.

If _none_ of the lead used for other than lead-acid batteries is recycled but ends up in the land fill, (not true, but bear with me) where is the remaining 35% of the lead used for lead acid batteries going?

Basically, at _least_ 35% of all lead-acid batteries is _not_ being recycled. If they were recycled at 98%, there would be at least 83% of the lead production would be from recycled lead from lead-acid batteries.  Only 50% comes from recycled lead.

The figures just don't add up. At least 35% of lead-acid batteries are ending up in the land fill. Just doing basic mass balance accounting using the ILA figures.

Indeed, an entire EV's worth of batteries is more likely to end up at the recycler than an alarm battery, but the 98% I believe is "creative accounting" at best.

Bill D.

On 1/23/2018 11:40 PM, Lee Hart via EV wrote:
Mark Abramowitz via EV wrote:
I'm always reluctant to recommend large scale solutions relying on lead acid batteries.

The adverse environmental impacts of plants that process them are huge, contaminating nearby communities with lead emissions for which there is no safe exposure.

Lead can certainly be bad for people and the environment. But then, so can the materials in just about any battery.

The key lies in *responsible* manufacturing, handling and recycling. Lead-acid batteries have been around so long that there are laws and procedures (in most developed countries) that prohibit bad practices. Upwards of 98% of the lead is recycled into new batteries. No other battery comes close. The majority of them are (sadly) thrown out as trash and wind up in landfills.

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