4 July 2013 – Manufacturer and distributor of lead acid batteries in South Africa, First National Battery, a subsidiary of JSE listed Metair Investments, has commissioned a polypropylene recycling plant at its Benoni factory, near Johannesburg.
Managing director at First National Battery, Dr Louis Denner says, “Automotive battery components, which include lead, plastic and acid are harmful to our ecology if they are not properly treated. Fortunately, most of the components of these batteries are well suited to recycling.
He adds that the manufacture of lead acid batteries in SA is dependent on the recycling of both lead and polypropylene. “In fact more than 90% of all lead acid batteries sold in South Africa are recycled.
“While our lead smelter has been producing good quality alloys for more than 14 years, the establishment of the polypropylene recycling plant essentially completes the vertical integration of our battery production processes,” Denner says. Polypropylene is used to manufacture battery cases, lids and other components.
The recycling process begins with the breaking-down of the old battery and the recovery of lead and polypropylene. The lead is smelted while the polypropylene is converted into granules, washed, dried and pelletised. The polypropylene pellets are bulk-shipped to First National Battery’s plastics factory in Fort Jackson, near East London, where they are combined with a specific ratio of virgin material in order to ensure sufficient tensile strength.
By becoming fully vertically integrated, First National Battery is able to oversee the entire process – from the recycling of old batteries, to the recovery of materials, the production of new plastic components and high-quality lead alloys, to the assembly and distribution of new lead acid batteries.