DID you know that almost 99 percent of the used lead-acid batteries (ULABs) that are thrown away can now be recycled completely here in the country? This process, known as "urban mining," involves recycling all of the battery's fundamental components once it has reached the end of its useful life in a vehicle. In addition, the second-hand lead sources utilized require 40-percent less energy than new primary lead sources.

According to Alexander Osias, marketing head of Oriental and Motolite Marketing Corp. (OMMC), recycling batteries properly helps the environment through proper disposal of waste materials.

Osias disclosed that their company has launched a campaign long before in ensuring that those ULABs are being disposed of and recycled properly. So, they encouraged their buyers to sell to them their used car batteries so they can be recycled properly, he added.

"Our Balik Baterya Program has been a success as we also partner with various organizations in order to further clean up the environment of these pollution-causing ULABs that are not disposed of properly," said Osias, mentioning it recently forged a tie-up with the Federation of Philippine Industries (FPI) under which FPI members and other interested organizations will sell their collected ULABs from its members and partner-organizations to OMMC for recycling based on the prevailing market buying price.

Motolite, on the other hand, will provide and arrange for the pick-up of the ULABs from FPI and its donors. It will also take care of the storage, handling, transport and recycling of the ULABs through its accredited recycler, Evergreen Environmental Resources Inc. (EERI). EERI operates a state-of-the-art battery-recycling facility in Sta. Maria, Bulacan. It has the capacity to recycle 10 million batteries annually and recover for reprocessing into commercial use again around 99 percent of the components, which assures the country of a sustainable source of lead-acid batteries through so-called "urban mining."

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Motolite brings all these used batteries to EERI for recycling. The lead, plastic pellets, and other recycled materials produced by EERI are then channeled back to the facility of Motolite — the Philippine Batteries Inc. — also in Sta. Maria, Bulacan for the production of new batteries.

After crushing the case and covers of a battery, the plastic pellets produced from the process are used as new battery covers and cases. The lead ingots recycled from the battery grids and other parts (such as posts and terminals) and even lead oxide are used to manufacture new lead for new grids, parts, and lead oxide. The sodium sulphate crystals separated from used electrolyte (diluted sulphuric acid) are recycled and sold for use in textiles, glass, and detergent manufacturing. Another option is for used electrolyte to be reclaimed and reused in manufacturing new batteries.

Also, EERI continues to invest substantially in equipment upgrades and research and development to make sure its facilities are constantly improving and adhering to international standards.