Lead-Acid Battery Recycling Plants
Lead-acid battery recycling is a critical component of sustainable waste management, considering the environmental impact of improper disposal of lead-acid batteries. In India, the lead acid battery recycling industry is subject to stringent regulatory frameworks and certifications to guarantee these batteries’ safe and environmentally responsible handling. This blog explores the key regulatory compliance requirements and certifications applicable to lead acid battery recycling plants in India.
The primary regulatory authority overseeing India’s lead acid battery recycling sector is the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change or MoEF&CC. The Hazardous & Other Wastes (Management & Transboundary Movement) (HOWM) Rules, 2016, stated under the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA), 1986, outline the legal framework for the environmentally sound management of hazardous waste, including lead acid batteries.
Key Compliance Requirements
Authorisation from the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB):
Before establishing a lead acid battery recycling plant, obtaining authorisation from the State Pollution Control Board is mandatory. The authorisation process involves thoroughly examining the plant’s design, waste management practices, and pollution control measures to ensure compliance with environmental standards.
Handling and Transportation:
The transportation of lead acid batteries comes under strict regulations. The batteries must be labelled as hazardous waste, and their transportation should comply with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and MoEF&CC guidelines. Proper handling procedures should be in place to prevent breakage and spillage during transportation.
Storage and Segregation:
Lead acid batteries must be stored in designated areas within the recycling plant. Segregation of batteries based on their condition and type is crucial for effective recycling. The storage facilities should have impermeable floors and bunds to prevent soil and water contamination in case of spills.
Air and Water Pollution Control:
Lead acid battery recycling involves processes that can release hazardous substances into the air and water. Recycling plants must install pollution control equipment, such as scrubbers and effluent treatment plants, to minimise emissions and ensure that discharged water meets the prescribed quality standards.
Worker Safety and Health:
Promising the safety and health of workers is a paramount concern. Compliance with occupational health & safety standards is mandatory. Adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), training programs, and medical surveillance for workers are essential components of regulatory compliance.
ISO 14001:2015 (Environmental Management System):
Obtaining ISO 14001 certification demonstrates a lead acid battery recycling plant’s commitment to environmental responsibility. This certification validates that the plant has established and implemented an effective environmental management system, addressing aspects like waste management, pollution prevention, and regulatory compliance.
Authorisation under the Hazardous Waste Management Rules:
Securing authorisation from the SPCB is a regulatory requirement and a form of certification that a lead acid battery recycling plant adheres to the specified environmental standards. Regular compliance audits and inspections by regulatory authorities are part of the authorisation process.
Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OHSAS 18001 or ISO 45001):
Certification under OHSAS 18001 or ISO 45001 signifies that a lead acid battery recycling plant is committed to promising the safety and well-being of its workforce. Implementing health and safety management systems helps prevent accidents, minimise risks, and comply with applicable regulations.
Lead acid battery recycling is vital to sustainable waste management in India. Strict adherence to regulatory compliance requirements and obtaining relevant certifications is crucial for the industry’s growth while mitigating environmental and health risks. Recycling plants prioritising environmental responsibility, worker safety, and regulatory compliance contribute significantly to the circular economy and society’s overall well-being.