Used Lead Acid Batteries (ULAB)

Lead acid batteries (LABs) remain essential for storage of energy in the automotive and industrial sector, including in cars, trucks, electric vehicles and bicycles, and off-the-grid power storage associated with renewable energy like solar and wind. The continued popularity of LABs is due to their relative simplicity and affordability. In addition, waste LABs or WLABs are also highly recyclable, with on the order of 60% of a battery’s weight comprised of recyclable material. The sulphuric acid in WLABs, and even the plastic carcasses of LABs, is recyclable. All of these recycled materials from WLABs can be used in construction of new LABs. Thus, LABs/WLABs are the perfect candidate for a closed-loop, where the materials from waste batteries are recycled and used in new batteries.

Lead is a cumulative toxicant particularly hazardous to young children and pregnant women. No safe level of lead exposure has been established. The estimated reduced cognitive potentials (loss of IQ points) due to preventable childhood lead exposure translates to $699.9 billion of economic loss in Asia alone.

The aim of training and capacity building activities is to support countries to enahnce the environmentally sound management of WLAB, identifying hot spots, where workers and vulnarable communities are exposed to lead from WLAB informal recycling and the dumping of battery electrolyte and furnace residues. The activities also aims at ensuring that WLAB are collected and held in a safe manner in temporary storage facilities and notdumped in non-specificareas or places, or that other small scale clean up operations are conducted at the identified site. In additoin, the activities aim at providing training to inform any exposed populations, workers as well as policy makers on the adverse human health and environmental effects of lead exposure and associated toxic discharges and emissions associated with the recycling of WLAB.

In addition the technical assistance activites aim at building a closed loop collection strategy and a plan to recycle and finally dispose of this waste stream in an environmentally sound manner, creating opportunities to discuss the strategy with all stakeholders, at the municipal, national and regional levels.