The Doe Run Company routinely shares its knowledge with students during site tours and minerals education activities, and now one of its divisions is featured in a leading science textbook. As one of the world’s largest single-site lead recycling facilities, Doe Run’s Buick Resource Recycling Division (BRRD), is highlighted in the revised edition of “Global Science: Energy, Resources, Environment.” The book, published by Kendall Hunt, is an integrated science textbook designed for ninth graders. Authors of the textbook chose to include BRRD’s role in the recycling of car batteries, to demonstrate a real-life environmental success story.
“It’s an honor to be selected for a science textbook that’s so highly regarded,” said Steve Arnold, general manager for BRRD. “We are pleased to see environmental concerns and the practical ways to address them be integrated into school curriculum. Now, students across the country can read about how lead-acid battery recycling that takes place here in the U.S. makes a difference in safeguarding the global environment.”
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that lead-acid batteries had a recovery rate of 98.8 percent in 2005, the highest among other recycled products including newspapers, office-type papers and aluminum cans. BBRD’s comprehensive process separates and captures lead and other trace metals from lead-acid batteries, and then the plastic casings are recycled by third parties. Even the sodium sulfate solution, which is a byproduct of the lead recycling process, is crystallized to produce a high-quality salt used by the laundry detergent, paper and glass industries.
To demonstrate the lifecycle and high reusability of lead and its recycling process, “Global Science” authors John Christensen and Teri Christensen turned to BRRD, which recycled in excess of 13.5 million lead-acid batteries last year alone. The text and photos will be spotlighted as a “Special Focus” sidebar.
In the coming months, Doe Run’s recycling facility may become a critical lead recovery resource as the television industry switches from analog to digital signals. According to a survey by the Consumer Electronics Association, 43.5 million television sets are expected to be disposed of by the end of this year and nearly 120 million through 2010. BRRD is one of the few facilities in North America that accepts and recovers lead from cathode ray tube (CRT) glass, found in older television screens. While other companies can recycle the plastic housings and circuit boards, not many can recover the lead found in CRT glass. A typical monitor contains 2 to 4 pounds of lead. Almost half a million cathode ray tubes are processed annually by BRRD.