GEEP Canada Inc. is a division of The Giampaolo Group of Companies, based in Ontario. The Giampaolo Group is involved in multiple industries, from aluminum re-melt to real estate, and is also one of North America's largest metals recyclers through the company's Triple M Metal division. GEEP (Global Electric Electronic Processing) specializes in managing the complete life cycle of IT assets through electronic asset management and end-of-life recycling. The company has nine locations throughout North America, including two Alberta facilities and plants in B.C., Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, North Carolina and Costa Rica.
The dangers of non-conforming batteries in the lead battery recycling process
Secondary lead smelters, battery manufacturers and battery recyclers are seeing more and more lithium batteries and other non-conforming batteries making their way into recycling streams
Lead batteries continue to be a recycling success story in the United States, Canada and abroad. In fact, according to a National Recycling Rate Study commissioned by Battery Council International (BCI) in 2017, more than 99% of Lead batteries are recycled. This is equivalent to about 12 billion pounds of lead batteries recycled in a four-year period.
As successful as the Lead battery recycling rate is, secondary lead smelters, battery manufacturers and battery recyclers are beginning to see more and more Lithium batteries and other non-conforming batteries making their way into the Lead battery recycling streams.
"We see non-conforming batteries enter our waste stream on a daily basis with Lithium batteries coming in on a weekly basis," according to Ray Krantz, Director of Business Development for Gopher Resource in Eagan, MN. While most Lithium batteries are physically smaller and used for other products besides vehicles, Lithium auto batteries are being made to look like lead acid auto batteries making it more difficult to identify them.
According to a Lithium battery handling policy distributed by RSR Corporation, Dallas, TX, "Lithium batteries are extremely dangerous in a Lead smelter, and must not be delivered by vendors or contract customers. They react violently in the battery breaking process resulting in the risk of severe human injury, explosion and fire." At Gopher Resource, when Lithium and other non-conforming batteries slip into the smelting process, "There can be injuries to our workers and damage to the battery breaker and housing," Krantz said. "We place great emphasis on prevention. We're very methodical in keeping our environment safe and our process efficient. We obviously want to do everything possible to avoid a single stoppage."
Besides the issue of Lithium batteries polluting the Lead battery recycling process, co-mingling Lithium batteries with Lead batteries on pallets destined for lead smelters is a strict violation of U.S. Federal Department of Transportation regulations and other hazardous waste and universal waste regulations. Fines and other heavy penalties can be assessed to the shipper of the batteries who violated the regulations. When the non-conforming batteries are discovered at the smelter they are quarantined, and then secured for shipment to a third party for proper disposal and recycling, Krantz said.
So how can you tell the difference between Lithium Auto batteries and Lead acid auto batteries? Probably the most obvious difference is the weight. The average weight of a Lead acid auto battery is about 40 lbs where a Lithium-ion auto battery weighs around 25 lbs. A visual inspection is needed according to Krantz. Most Lead batteries will have a Pb on the label and Lithium batteries should be labeled Li. But even some labels can be confusing so it is important to carefully inspect the battery and label to determine if it is a Lithium or lead acid battery. The terminals are also a good indicator, and sometimes there are labels and odd color battery cases Krantz said.
Smelters do have spotters stationed along the conveyor belt system that moves the scrap batteries into the breaking part of the process, but it is still possible for Lithium batteries to be missed during that review. Additionally, some smelters have a metal detector set to read certain levels of metal that are consistent with Lead batteries, but even those machines are not infallible. When a non-conforming battery with the improper metal level is detected, an alarm sounds and the conveyor belt stops. However, now a smelter employee has to climb down the belt to retrieve the bad battery, then get back to his post, then restart the machine. This slows the overall process, forcing hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars in down-time for the smelter.
When Lithium and other non-conforming batteries are intercepted before they enter the smelting process, they must properly dispose of those batteries which adds significant costs. "Fines for handling, disposal and recycling are passed back to the shipper or generator," Krantz said. The same holds true for RSR and likely other secondary lead smelters. Shippers will be held accountable.
Properly disposing Lithium batteries could cost as much as $6.00/lb at some smelters. If there is an injury or death as a result of a lithium battery exploding in the lead smelting process, legal fees and expenses could be included in any fines or charges back to the shipper. "Substantial resources, manpower, time and cost is employed at RSR to screen, remove and safely dispose of Lithium batteries," according to their policy. Smelters will identify repeat source locations (shippers and generators) when Lithium batteries are included with Lead batteries on truckload shipments and bar that shipper from further deliveries to secondary lead smelters. Even if you purchased well wrapped batteries from another source and included them with your Lead battery load for recycling, if Lithium batteries or other non-conforming batteries are found on that shipment, you will be held accountable.
To avoid fines and additional costs for disposal of non-conforming batteries, shippers should inspect the batteries they plan to recycle. If Lithium and other off-chemistry batteries are discovered, they need to be segregated and properly disposed of according to federal and state hazardous waste and/or universal waste regulations.
Because Lead batteries have become such a success story in the recycling world, some people handling batteries believe all batteries can be recycled in similar fashion. This is not the case. Taking the extra care and time to identify the types of batteries you have to recycle could keep you and your company from receiving hefty fines or expensive disposal costs, and keeps everyone safer within the entire battery recycling process.
More from Electronics Recycling
Sony Electronics has joined as a member of a growing number of e-Stewards Enterprise companies. These corporations and institutions are committed to using the most globally responsible recycling companies that are certified to the e-Stewards standard. The e-Stewards standard disallows exporting hazardous electronic waste to developing countries and employs the most rigorous criteria to prevent data breaches from discarded hardware. Besides being a leading manufacturer of consumer electronic products, Sony Electronics is committed to designing with the environment in mind and helping to eliminate externalities throughout the supply and disposal chains. Beyond its efforts with regards to recycling, Sony's vision is to aim for a zero environmental footprint by 2050 to conserve resources and curb climate change.
Greentec launching “It’s Easy Being Green” Campaign in Southwestern Ontario to encourage responsible E-recycling
Ontario-based e-waste company Greentec has launched "It's Easy Being Green," a an e-waste recycling initiative that will provide local drop off boxes for individuals and families as well as pickup services for businesses. The company says they are encouraging southwestern Ontario residents to safely and securely recycle their e-waste in 2019, and with numerous certifications, including ISO 14001, OHSAS, R2 and NAID, is well positioned as a leader in the recycling community.
A new report from OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) has found that the rapid growth in online sales of electronic goods is enabling some producers and retailers to shirk their responsibilities for the environmental impact of their products, normally enforced through Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) systems. The report estimates this occurs with 5-10 percent of online electronics sales, meaning lower collection rates for items at the end of their life cycle and reduced financing for waste management.
Ontario Environment Ministry to outline upcoming changes to WEEE and Hazardous Waste stewardship in the province
An important component in the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan is moving Ontario's existing waste diversion programs to the producer responsibility model. Transitioning Ontario's waste diversion programs includes two concurrent steps:
- Winding up the existing waste diversion programs and industry funding organizations under the Waste Diversion Transition Act (WDTA); and,
- Putting in place regulations under the Resource Recovery and Circular Economy Act (RRCEA) to make producers fully responsible.
Prince Edward Island approves Call2Recycle Canada as official single-use and rechargeable battery stewardship program
Call2Recycle Canada, Inc., Canada's consumer battery collection and recycling organization, has been approved by the Prince Edward Island Department of Communities, Land and Environment as a regulated battery stewardship program to collect and recycle consumer batteries. Its five-year, all-battery consumer collection and recycling plan will be implemented in early 2019.
Study uncovers high levels of previously unsuspected pollutants from electronics in homes and recycling plants
Scientists at Indiana University have found high levels of a previously unsuspected pollutant in homes, in an electronic waste recycling facility and in the natural environment, and have warned that people are likely to be exposed to this pollutant by breathing contaminated dust or through skin contact.
California-based Converge Engineering LLC has announced the launch of its new website, ConvergeBelting.com. This domain provides new and existing customers in recycling and other industries with a comprehensive resource for replacement conveyor belting and accessories.
The Toronto-based Electronic Recycling Association (ERA) has confirmed donation of over 500 laptops, computers, printers and cell phones to individuals in need, as of GivingTuesday, which takes place following U.S. Thanksgiving - this year on Tuesday, November 27. Every year this non-profit event aims to donate more equipment than the last. This year they have succeeded with their donations totalling 547 IT devices, a 50% increase from 2017.
Greentec, an Ontario-based e-waste recycling solutions company, now has exclusive technology to safely handle LCD displays during the process of converting discarded electronics into new materials, making it the most advanced e-waste company of its kind in the country, according to Greentec. The company uses innovative Lamp, LCD and Laptop waste recycling technology to remove the hazardous materials typically found in these items, including mercury vapours and other heavy metals. The automated procedure ensures there is no human contact with hazardous materials.
In today's world, everything runs on batteries. They're in the things we use every day. Inevitably though, they run out of power and the question comes up - what do you do with your spent batteries? In the past they ended up in a junk drawer, an old coffee can in the garage, or even in the trash. But, batteries can be recycled using a few extra precautions.
The United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), a collaborative organization of FCA US LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors, today announced the award of $1.08 million to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Massachusetts for Phase II of a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery recycling contract.
Seneca, a Montreal-based engineering consulting firm specializing in industrial materials process engineering, is proud to announce that the Lithion Recycling project consortium, of which Seneca is part of, has received a $3.8 million funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).
Sims Recycling Solutions certifies two additional facilities with Information Security Management Standard
Sims Recycling Solutions (SRS), a leading global provider of electronics recycling and IT asset disposition (ITAD) services, recently earned ISO 27001:2013 certification at two U.S. facilities in Roseville, California and West Chicago, Illinois.
Premier Surplus, Inc., a Georgia-based asset management and electronics recycling company has, along with SSI, completed the design of a new E-Waste Shred System.
TOMRA's new-generation X-TRACT features dual processing technology, multi-density channels and application packages
TOMRA Sorting Recycling has introduced a new generation of X-TRACT machine with advanced sorting technology that allows a broader range of market segments to take advantage of its ability to boost purity levels. Today's XTRACT features innovative Dual Processing Technology to enhance final purity levels; multi-density channels for more precise classification and sorting of materials; and a broad range of application packages.
Throughout October, the Avoid the Spark campaign -- a public education effort to reduce battery safety incidents -- returns to the Bay Area to engage the community. Efforts include local county battery collections, a cornerstone event benefiting the California Fire Foundation, and the launch of a dedicated battery safety resource webpage, www.avoidthespark.com. This second phase builds on the Avoid the Spark campaign launch in May, spurred by the growing epidemic of battery-related fires at recycling and waste facilities along with the hidden dangers of trashing lithium-based batteries.
International E-Waste Day has been developed by the WEEE Forum, an international association of e-waste collection schemes, and 26 of its members and involves around 40 different organisations in 20 different countries worldwide. The inaugural event, set for Saturday October 13th, is being used to raise the public profile of e-waste and encourage consumers to correctly dispose of their e-waste with the resulting increase in re-use and recycling rates on the day itself and into the future.
In the wake of multiple scandalous discoveries of piles of used Ofo and Lime rideshare bikes in the US and China, the Basel Action Network (BAN) and its e-waste recycling program, e-Stewards, is calling on all bicycle and scooter rideshare companies, and the city governments that license them, to establish responsible end-of-life policies to ensure maximal reuse and safe and responsible recycling for those bikes and scooters that cannot be reused.
The Electronic Recycling Association (ERA) has been working to reduce unnecessary electronic waste since 2004 throughout Canada. Many of us are unaware of the toxic chemicals that derive from electronic devices. Take a cell phone as an example, it has over 500 components and many contain toxic metals such as mercury, lead, beryllium, and cadmium. Over the past five years the ERA has been working with Hi Tech Recyclers, an Alberta Recycling (ARMA) certified recycler, to recycle e-waste from the province, comprised of unusable TV's, printers and electronics that could not be reused.
Global Waste Recycling Market Outlook 2018 report reveals only 20 to 25 percent e-waste documented as collected and recycled
Frost & Sullivan's recent analysis, Global Waste Recycling Market Outlook, 2018, reveals close to 48.2 million tonnes of eWaste was generated in 2017, of which only 20 to 25 percent was documented to be collected and recycled. The remaining waste was either landfilled or disposed of unsafely or illegally in lesser developed countries. This scenario is likely to persist in the absence of stringent regulations, closed-loop supply chains, and greater producer responsibility. China made a market-altering decision when it announced a ban on the import of 24 categories of recyclables and solid waste by the end of 2017. This decision will force the world's biggest waste importers, which include the UK, the US, Europe, and Japan, to build new recycling infrastructure in their own facilities or look to other Southeast Asian countries for waste management.
TES has acquired 100% of the share capital of EGR Beteiligungs GmbH (EGR), a leading recycler based in Herten, Germany. Since formation in 1993, EGR has provided technology recycling solutions across mainland Europe supporting WEEE programs and B2B / B2C nationwide take-back solutions. The acquisition further develops TES's vision to deliver more connected lifecycle solutions to their clients throughout Europe.
The Basel Action Network (BAN) has warned South and Southeast Asian nations that they will become the next, after Thailand, to be hit by a tidal wave of electronic and plastic wastes from North America and Europe, if they don't move to ban the import of such wastes by ratifying an international agreement called the Basel Ban Amendment. The Ban Amendment would amend the existing Basel Convention, now agreed by 194 countries, to make it illegal to export hazardous wastes such as electronic wastes (e-waste) for any reason from developed countries of the OECD and EU blocs to developing countries.
TerraCycle's efficient drum-top bulb crushing systems, the BulbEater3 and BulbEater3L, have received CE certification from the European Commission's Directorate-General (DG) for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs. Obtaining a Declaration of Conformity (DoC) is essential for the sale and distribution of a product in the European Economic Area and other regions. The BulbEater system had to meet the strict standards set forth by European Union Directive 2006/42/EC on Machinery to receive a DoC.
Hasbro, Inc., the global play and entertainment company, recently launched a new toy and game recycling pilot program with TerraCycle, a global leader in product recycling. During the pilot program, consumers can collect and send their well-loved Hasbro toys and games to TerraCycle, who will recycle them into materials that can be used in the construction of play spaces, flower pots, park benches, and other innovative uses.
Sims Recycling Solutions (SRS), a leading global provider of electronics recycling and IT asset disposition (ITAD) services, has expanded their processing lines at the company's Eindhoven, Netherlands e-waste facility. This site, known to be the largest e-waste (WEEE) recycling operation in the region, added enhancements that include metals and plastics separation technologies.
ERA announces rebranding to Electronic Reusing Association in time for organization's 15th anniversary
The Electronic Recycling Association (ERA), the Calgary-based non-profit organization addressing the growing problem of e-waste and the increasing 'digital divide' has announced the business' rebrand to the Electronic Reusing Association. This comprehensive rebrand elevates the focus on reuse rather than recycle and this will be evident in their new logo and website within the coming months.
Sims Recycling Solutions (SRS), a leading provider of global IT asset disposition (ITAD) services was proud to have Steve Skurnac, chief development officer of Sims Metal Management, of which SRS is a part, as a representative at the 17th International Electronics Recycling Congress IERC 2018. This event, held Jan. 17-19 in Salzburg, Austria, brought more than 500 recycling professionals together to discuss new technologies, regulations, manufacturing processes and raw materials values.
As part of a worldwide effort to promote the importance of recycling on the first-ever Global Recycling Day this Sunday, March 18, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) is calling on businesses, communities, policymakers, and individuals to increase their commitment to recycling and recognize scrap as an important resource. Recyclable materials are valuable commodities that play a pivotal role in environmental protection, energy conservation, and sustainability.
After years of stagnation, the European recycling industry is finally experiencing a revival, according to organizers of this week's Automobile Recycling Congress IARC 2018, in Vienna., running from March 14th through Friday March 16.
In an attempt to respond to recyclers' quest for information about the presence of materials and components in electronic waste that require separate treatment, producers and producer responsibility organisations have teamed up to create "Information for Recyclers - I4R", a unique one-stop source platform aimed at providing a whole range of information and guidance on how to handle WEEE: http://www.i4r-platform.eu. The platform was launched at the end of February.
Pellenc ST and Sesotec GmbH recently concluded a new partnership to complement their market and product portfolio in the high-tech recyclables sorting sector. This agreement covers the distribution of flake sorting equipment for plastics recycling applications in France, Japan and the UK and sensor-based sorting equipment for End-of-Life Vehicles, Metal scrap and the WEEE-recycling markets in France and Japan. For other territories and other waste sorting applications, new opportunities will be treated on a case-by-case basis.
Call2Recycle Canada, Inc., the country's leading consumer battery stewardship and recycling organization, has achieved the latest Responsible Recycling Practices Standard (R2) certification, R2:2013. R2 is the leading standard for recycling organizations and is recognized by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), an electronic recycling non-profit that serves as the housing-body for the R2 standard. The distinction reinforces Call2Recycle's commitment to following stringent requirements on the safe and secure collecting and processing of batteries.
Call2Recycle, North America's first and largest consumer battery stewardship and recycling program, encourages Canadians and Americans to Lead the Charge on National Battery Day (February 18th). The annual awareness day asks consumers and organizations to scour their homes and offices - especially junk drawers, closets and garages - for used batteries, which they can bring to a Call2Recycle drop-off location or start their own program.
Andrew Rubin bought FCM Recycling in 2010, converting it from a ferrous and non-ferrous recycler with a speciality in printed circuit boards, to a specialized processor of electronic waste. With headquarters and a shredder in Lavaltrie, near Montreal, FCM also has plants in Cornwall, Ontario; Elmsdale, Nova Scotia; and Delta, British Columbia (near Vancouver).
TerraCycle US Inc., a leader in the collection and repurposing of hard-to-recycle post-consumer waste, announced it has acquired Chicago-based Air Cycle Corporation, a leader in universal waste recycling that provides solutions for mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs, battery, ballast and electronic waste disposal.
Kuusakoski unveils recycling technology for separating copper and niobium-titanium from superconducting wires
Kuusakoski Recycling, Northern Europe's leading recycling services company, has developed a method of recycling magnetic imaging devices that can be used to separate electrolytic copper and niobium-titanium conductors, which are thinner than a human hair. The company says the innovation is particularly useful currently, because the use of magnetic imaging in health care is increasing, and hospitals are replacing their old devices with newer, more powerful imaging devices. Magnetic imaging requires an extremely strong magnetic field. For that reason, in the core of the imaging device there is a superconducting coil that is cooled with helium. This coil is sealed inside multi-layered metal chambers and cast in resin.
Call2Recycle, North America's first and largest consumer battery stewardship and recycling program, has reported that their partners, stewards and collection sites recycled nearly 14 million pounds (6.3 million kilograms) of batteries throughout the U.S. and Canada in 2017. These results contribute to Call2Recycle's mission of keeping batteries out of landfills. To date, the program has recycled 144 million pounds (65 million kilograms) of batteries.
Call2Recycle, Inc., North America's first and largest consumer battery stewardship organization, has announced that Susan Repo, the Corporate Treasurer and Vice President of Finance at Tesla, Inc., will be joining the organization's United States Board of Directors.
Expert organizations have united to create the first European database of valuable materials available for "urban mining" from scrap vehicles, spent batteries, waste electronic and electrical equipment, and mining wastes.