The environmentally sound management of used lead–acid batteries (ULABs) is the benchmark in Europe, North America and Australia. With recycling rates in the upper nineties, the lead industry is reaching a level of sustainability that out performs all other recycleable commodities. Unfortunately, however, the environmentally sound management of ULABs is not universal and in many instances licensed lead sector operators in both emerging economies and nations in transition find it difficult to recycle USLABs economically to internationally recognised standards for environmental management, occupational health, and safety. This is because they are often competing with informal, unlicensed operators that have scant regard for such practice. ULAB recycling projects — pioneered through the Outreach Activities of the International Lead Association and implemented through sponsored projects in partnership with national governments and the lead industry — have developed strategies and recycling processes that enable the licensed and formal recyclers of USLABs in developing countries, emerging economies and nations in transition to compete with informal operators and still achieve a sustainable and environmentally sound solution to the recycling of ULABs that is affordable and financially viable. This presentation discusses experiences and insights drawn from case studies in a recent project in Nepal.
Brian Wilson has enjoyed a varied career― first with the oil industry then with secondary lead production. He is currently a specialist independent consultant retained by the International Lead Association (ILA) and also works for a number of Intergovernmental Organizations and NGOs on a variety of sustainable recycling projects. Brian has been responsible for the implementation of multi-stakeholder lead risk reduction programmes world-wide with a particular focus on emerging economies and countries in transition.