Exide Technologies (Princeton, NJ) announced that the company received the 2001 Environmental Consciousness Award given by the Vaughan, Ontario Chamber of Commerce (Canada). The awards committee selected Exide's Maple facility, a manufacturer of lead-acid batteries, based on achievement in environmental concerns.
Exide's Maple facility developed a water reclamation program that reduced water consumption in the plant by more than 80 million gallons. In addition, Exide recovered and recycled more than 70,000 tons of lead, 478,000 pounds of plastic containers and 217,000 pounds of paper and corrugated materials.
When Exide recycles spent batteries, it reclaims the lead, the polypropylene from battery cases and the battery acid. The lead is melted, poured into ingots and used to produce new batteries. The polypropylene cases are broken apart, washed, melted and extruded into pellets, which are used for making new battery cases. The spent battery acid is processed to extract components that are converted to sodium sulfate, a product used in textiles, detergents and other products. A new Exide battery contains nearly 100-percent recycled lead and plastic. These materials can be recycled indefinitely.
The news of the award came around Earth Day in the US. Chairman and CEO Robert A. Lutz commented, "Every day is Earth Day at Exide Technologies. We were recycling our products many years before other industries recognized the benefits of recycling." He added, "It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the lead from a battery we built in 1950 might still be used in a new Exide battery produced today. We recycle because it makes economic sense and environmental sense."