On the occasion of Global Recycling Day, India Lead Zinc Development Association (ILZDA) has highlighted the imperative need for safe disposal, organized collection and green recycling of Lead batteries. India, one of the largest consumers of Lead acid batteries and unfortunately there is also an informal Lead recycling sector owing to lack of awareness among scrap collectors and battery dealers. Such illegal recycling with hazardous practices not only risk the environment but also the health of the people who deal with such materials. Over the years, ILZDA has imparted the necessary education and training of a large section of Lead battery manufacturers and recyclers to ensure eco-friendly recycling of used Lead batteries.
“Materials with toxic characteristics demand a specialised approach in the way they are handled, transported or recycled. Lack of awareness coupled with absence of the right technology not only brings down the immense potential of such materials but most importantly, results in an irreversible damage to the environment and population”, said L.Pugazhenthy, Executive Director, India Lead Zinc Development Association. “As an association, we have sensitized the industry participants with all the desired knowledge and tools and the effort continues. Such trained and Green lead recyclers should become role models for anyone looking for safe disposal and environment friendly recycling of Lead batteries”, Pugazhenthy added.
In 2001, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) notified the ‘Battery (Management & Handling) Rules 2001’, with subsequent amendments in 2010, that included ‘Extended Producer Responsibility’ and covered all stakeholders i.e. manufacturers, dealers, importers (of new batteries), battery assemblers, reconditioners, auctioneers, individual consumers and bulk consumers to collect the old battery (95-100%) against the sale of the new battery on a “one-to-one” basis. It also demanded that such collected batteries are all processed by registered eco-friendly Lead recyclers only. The 2001 B(M&H)R also mandated that battery manufacturers as well as dealers should file periodic returns every six months with the respective State Pollution Control Boards on the number of old batteries collected as well as new batteries sold. It also encouraged setting up collection centres either individually or jointly across the country for used Lead batteries. Ultimately the sole aim was to make India collect back 100% of used Lead batteries and send them only for environment-friendly recycling.
“About 85% of the total lead consumed in India is used for manufacturing Lead batteries. An estimated 25% of the total Lead used comes from unregistered recyclers, who harm the environment immensely due to unsafe practices”, said Pugazhenthy. “Despite Lead acid batteries being the most trusted and safe energy source, the informal Lead recycling has dented the positive image. The only way to ensure adoption of the best practices is in strengthening the implementation and strict monitoring of compliance with penal provisions”, further added Pugazhenthy.
To ensure that the Lead recycling results in zero harm, ILZDA has demanded multiple sops including registration of all battery dealers and collecting their returns, recognizing the best registered recyclers as well as the best Lead battery manufacturers with maximum collection, for compliance, encouraging battery manufacturers and entrepreneurs to invest in eco-friendly recycling facilities by offering tax rebates, incentives etc. On its part, the Association has been holding several workshops and seminars with both the authorised recyclers as well as manufacturers and users to improve the existing system of collection and recycling old batteries.