Element Resources provides metal smelting and separation of polymers from metals services. Element receives spent lead batteries from collection sites across the United States. We disassemble the batteries and separate three primary materials: the plastic case material, sulfuric acid and lead. The recycling process, or smelting, utilizes high heat to smelt the battery plates and other lead-bearing materials, which are formed into new metallic lead ingots. The final products from the smelting process, lead, plastic and acid, are then used by manufacturers to produce new products, such as new lead batteries.
Circular Economy and Sustainability
The lead battery industry is a closed-loop circular economy. With a recycling rate of 99 percent – the highest recycling rate for any consumer product – spent lead batteries are separated, processed, and their recycled components are used to manufacture new products, such as new batteries.
In this circular economy, batteries are manufactured, used, collected, recycled, and then the same materials are used again to manufacture new products. The cycle never ends and creates a level of sustainability unseen in any other industry. The Element Resources recycling process is located in North America, so spent or used batteries are not shipped to other countries, where environmental regulations are not as stringent.
By keeping the supply of key resources, such as lead, in North America, battery manufacturers avoid supply chain disruptions and maintain the supply of critical materials needed to make new lead batteries. Additionally, because lead can be recycled or reused infinitely, Element Resources is able to keep its customers fully supplied with recycled lead, eliminating the need to mine for new lead, which has a high environmental impact.
Health and Safety
Element Resources is committed to protecting the health, safety and well-being of our employees and the communities where we operate and live. To achieve Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) excellence, we have rigorous EHS policies in place that ensure our operations meet or exceed the requirements of laws and regulations.
Element Resources’ recycling plants operate under an EHS Management System (EHSMS), which includes monitoring and management of key performance indicators to ensure effective control of our environmental risks, such as air emissions and hazardous waste.
We are a member of the Association of Battery Recyclers, a group dedicated to promoting the highest standards in lead battery recycling. This association works to solve the unseen problem of responsibly recycling the more than 130 million used lead batteries that our nation disposes of each year. Instead of filling landfills, the recycling industry turns discarded lead battery components into highly valuable, raw materials for new products.