Paper 1 – Do you use one of the most recycled products on the planet?

Chris Hanes, The TBS Engineering Group Director of Corporate Growth, shines a light on one very important product in our everyday lives.

As a society we have become more aware of the impact of our buying decisions on our local environment and the planet.

The current plastics epidemic has put into sharp focus the ramifications of our actions. It’s another timely reminder that we must make responsible choices about the products we buy.

For most of us one of the largest purchases we’ll make in our lives, after our homes, is the four wheels that take us from A to B. We’re all urged to be green these days and many of us car owners are already contributing in a way I suspect most of us are not even aware of.

With a recycling rate of 99 percent, making them one of the most recycled consumer products, lead based batteries are reprocessed and reused in new lead-based batteries. The impact is significant – millions of lead-based batteries diverted from landfill every year.

Cars have become ‘greener’ and so too have the batteries under the bonnet that power them. Tesla, for sure, has done a great job of making us all aware of this. But why should we care?

In the world today, there are approximately 1.2 billion vehicles on the roads. By 2035 this will increase to over 2 billion – the majority of which will include lead-based batteries.

We can all take comfort and a degree of satisfaction knowing that each of us are doing our own bit, thanks to the recycling efforts of the industry.

But invariably there’s always more we can do. And it’s this philosophy that led to the introduction in our cars of start-stop technology utilising lead-based batteries.

Developed back in the 1980s the technology has already had a major impact on the environment, helping to significantly cut carbon emissions.

By 2020, it is predicted that startstop technology will help eliminate 2 million tons of vehicle greenhouse gas emissions annually in the U.S. alone. This is equivalent to the annual energy use of 211,000 average U.S. households*.

The benefits go further. The lead-based battery is responsible for a vast majority of the world’s energy storage needs. Everything from the renewable energy in our homes, to the infrastructure that keeps us digitally connected, and the essential back-up energy for our hospitals. The list goes on.

We take for granted just how much these little boxes of stored up energy, power our everyday lives. While there are many other batteries and newer chemistries out there, none share the same green credentials of the lead-based battery.

In the future this will only improve further. Newer types of technology and the growing importance of electro mobility are pushing our industry to be that much better. We’re rising to the challenge with the development of the advanced lead-based battery.

So, when you next talk about green products, give the lead-based battery another thought. And next time you step into your car, think about the many millions of batteries you have helped divert from landfill, and the carbon emissions you have helped to eliminate. Without them our lives would come to a grinding halt.