Recycling might feel preachy at times, but there are many reasons why you need to pay attention to its necessity. Not only does recycling help with a marked reduction in carbon footprints, but it also reduces the need for raw material mining, energy saving and bottlenecking greenhouse gases. All such steps ultimately help us fight against pollution and environmental degradation, making the planet greener and sustainable. The best bet for bringing in that sustainable future is via recycling agents and facilities.
In the month of November, many interesting developments occurred in the field of recycling, many of which you might have missed on the mainstream media. Do not worry, we have got you covered with our exclusive monthly recycling news roundup about recycling grants, happenings in battery recycling, newer ways to handle e-waste, and much more.
EPA Plans to Award $93M Grant to Recycling Facilities
On America Recycles Day, President Biden urged people to “secure a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable future” by practicing recycling techniques. He also delegated award money $105 million in grants for recycling and waste infrastructure to EPA last month.
In November, EPA decided to spread that share with 84 local recycling facilities. The grant-winning projects include installing mobile recycling stations on various tribal lands, purchasing equipment such as balers, and constructing an energy-efficient cardboard recycling facility.
I believe the real hurdle in recycling is the confusion it entails, especially when it comes to which niches should get priority over others. E-waste is a huge problem, with little to no delegated grants from the government or NGO levels.
In addition to efforts for gearing up paper and plastic recycling, a push towards e-waste recycling will help us as well. We have yet to see any promising solid efforts for e-waste management.
Want to Get $5 for Every Battery You Recycle? Here’s How
Chris Eachus, a New York State Assemblyman wants to give a $5 incentive to return their rechargeable batteries to retailers as they are replaced.
“Retailers (can) charge a $5 ‘NYS Return Incentive Payment’ unless a used battery is returned at the time of purchase (or within a month of purchase, in which case they must issue a refund),” he wrote in his legislative justification.
These measures come alongside Washington lawmakers’ efforts to curb battery recycling issues. The state’s Department of Ecology is expected to present their preliminary policy recommendations for how to handle electric vehicle batteries early next month for the 2023-24 year.
The battery recycling incentive seems promising for the promotion of such ecological healthy activities. These incentives will also make recycling a part of the dining table talk, which creates further awareness and helps quantify human emotion aspect of the recycling process. I think it would be even more fruitful if this initiative expanded to other states as well.
It is a welcoming sight to note that states and counties where proper battery recycling facilities are lacking, are coming up with plans to finalize recycling plans.
Toyota to Recycle Car Batteries?
Toyota is already in talks with a U.S-based e-waste recycler company, Redwood Materials, for a comprehensive recycling, remanufacturing and repurposing facility. The agreement comes on top of the previously signed treatment with the same company to collect and test Toyota’s EV car batteries in the US.
With a domestic battery supply chain factory, Toyota is now eyeing to recycle nearly five million operating units. Using recycled raw materials such as lithium, nickel and copper can reduce the cost of producing new batteries.
For Toyota’s products, Redwood is targeting a minimum of 20% recycled nickel, 20% recycled lithium, and 50% recycled cobalt in the cathode material as well as 100% recycled copper in the anode foil. The recycled materials are to be supplemented by mined primary materials purchased from external partners.
Toyota’s battery factory in North Carolina is scheduled to go into operation in 2025.
To consider repurposing and recycling of battery materials here in the United States can be a great way to cut foreign reliance. It is no secret that we still rely on China for most of our raw materials. If Redwood gets back what they predict from the Toyota agreement, it will be a great model for other companies to follow suit.
EV Batteries Now Getting Recycled by Bacteria?
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland are investigating a way to recycle batteries using bacteria. These bacteria are not just any type of micro-organisms, they are bred in labs specifically to bioengineer the metallic content of EV batteries.
Their new method involves combining metal and the bacteria in the form of slurry mixture. What ends up happening is that the microbes feast on the metal slurry, depositing their excreta as samples for recycled battery material.
This process can yield silts of cobalt, manganese, nickel, and lithium successfully. However, if commercialized, these processes can increase the process of EV battery recycling significantly lucratively.
Are bacteria the future of battery recycling? Who’s to say otherwise if promising results like these come up. The use of bioengineering to break down materials is not a new concept — there’s similar research exploring bacteria to tackle the issue of microplastics and PFAS (non-degradable synthetics), though it’s all still in the very early stages.
At Recycle Technologies, we are constantly evolving our methods of battery recycling, including EV and alkaline. Imagining a scenario where bioengineered bacteria lead to a revolution in battery recycling companies can be a huge achievement.