Lead Acid Battery Recycling- Brief Overview
One of the cheapest ways of storing energy is through Lead Acid Batteries. The construction of this battery includes two electrode namely- lead and other is lead oxide. These electrodes are immersed in the water solution and sulfuric acid. When the battery generates energy, the lead combines with the sulphuric acid and creates lead sulphate. The lead oxide combines with the hydrogen and sulphuric acid and creates lead sulphate and water. As the battery gets discharged the lead sulphate builds up on the electrode and the water builds up in sulphuric acid solution. This process will be reversed when the battery is charged.
The lead acid battery, if not handled or disposed of properly, can contaminate soil and ground water. It can also become a cause for environmental pollution. Hence, proper Lead Acid Battery Recycling is necessary to avoid major environmental hazard.
Rules and Regulations Governing Lead Acid Battery Recycling
These rules governing Lead Acid Battery Recycling is called the Batteries (Management and Handling) Rules, 2001. These rules shall be applicable to every manufacturer, importer, re-conditioner, assembler, dealer, recycler, auctioneer, consumer, & bulk consumer.
Lead Acid Batteries Recycling
The demand of lead acid batteries has gone up significantly. Some of these batteries are currently in use and some are in the process of disposal and recycling. 98% of a lead acid battery can be reclaimed through recycling. The lead, plastic and acid components can be re-processed and manufactured into other products as well.
After the batteries are collected, they are broker apart and the sulphuric acid is neutralized and turned into sodium sulphate. The lead and polypropylene parts are separated by putting the broken battery pieces in a vat and the lead falls to the bottom and the plastic materials float. The plastic pieces are collected and the liquid is drained off to retrieve the lead. Both lead and plastic casings are recycled into new batteries or used in other products.
The recycling of the lead-acid battery is prevalent since a long time, especially in industrialized countries. In developing countries, the industrial recycling facilities employ various manual techniques where batteries are broken, emptied, separated and charged manually. The lead extracted is refined and put into ingots manually which creates a hazard for workers and environment in general.
Therefore there is a need to implement effective control measures in the battery recycling plant to protect the workers health and to prevent pollution.
Responsibilities of a Recycler
Every recycler shall:
- Make an application for registration to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) or an agency designated by it by submitting the information in Form VI;
- Ensure compliance of the registration terms and conditions;
- Submit annual return according to Form VII to the state board;
- Make available all records pertaining to receipt of used batteries, quantities, sources, to be submitted to the SPCB for inspection;
- Mark recycled on lead recovered by reprocessing;
- Create public awareness through ads, publications etc., in respect of hazards of lead and obligation of the consumers to return used batteries only to the registered dealers or deliver to the designated collection centre.
Registration for Lead Acid Battery Recycling
Procedure of Registration for Lead Acid Batteries Recycling
The procedure for registration of recyclers is as follows;
- Every recycler of used lead batteries need to make an application in Form VI to Joint Secretary, MOEF or any officer designated by ministry or an agency designated by it along with the following documents:
- Copy of valid consents under Water (prevention and control of pollution) Act and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
- Copy of the valid authorization under Hazardous Wastes ( Management and Handling)Rules, 2008/2016;
- Copy of valid registration certificate with District Industries Centre;
- Copy of proof of installed capacity issued by SPCB/Distinct Industries Centre.
- The officer of the Ministry of Environment and Forests or any other officer designated by the ministry shall ensure that the recyclers have the appropriate facilities, technical capabilities, and equipment to recycle used batteries;
- The Ministry of Environment & Forests or any officer designated by the Ministry or an agency designated by it will take the decision on the application for registration.
Validity and Renewal of the Registration
The registration shall be valid for a period of two years from the date of issue of the registration. The validity can be extended by applying for renewal. For renewal of the registration, an application for renewal of registration can be made in Form VI before the expiry of the registration. The Ministry of Environment & Forests or any officer designated by the Ministry or an agency designated by it has the authority to renew the registration of the recycler.
Cancellation of the Registration
The MoEF can cancel or suspend the registration if the registered recycler fails to comply with the registration conditions or with any provisions of the Act but not before providing an opportunity to the applicant of being heard.
The state board shall monitor the compliance of conditions. Further an appeal can be made against any order of suspension/cancellation or refusal of registration passed by MoEF. Such appeals should be in writing and it must be accompanied with a copy of order appealed against.
Tips for Lead Acid Battery Recycling Plant Owners
Some important tips that Lead Acid Battery Recycling Plant owners should adopt:
- Focus on the use of good plant design, with less potential for emission of contaminating substances and note that new smelting process is much cleaner than the traditional blast furnaces;
- Install pollution abatement technologies;
- To avoid lead exposure implement control measures like maintaining minimum standards of air quality, use of protective equipment, medical surveillance of employees and practice good hygiene in general.
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