An eco-balance of a recycling plant for spent lead-acid batteries

Environ Manage. 2005 Feb;35(2):206-19. doi: 10.1007/s00267-003-0099-x.


This study applies Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology to present an eco-balance of a recycling plant that treats spent lead-acid batteries. The recycling plant uses pyrometallurgical treatment to obtain lead from spent batteries. The application of LCA methodology (ISO 14040 series) enabled us to assess the potential environmental impacts arising from the recycling plant's operations. Thus, net emissions of greenhouse gases as well as other major environmental consequences were examined and hot spots inside the recycling plant were identified. A sensitivity analysis was also performed on certain variables to evaluate their effect on the LCA study. The LCA of a recycling plant for spent lead-acid batteries presented shows that this methodology allows all of the major environmental consequences associated with lead recycling using the pyrometallurgical process to be examined. The study highlights areas in which environmental improvements are easily achievable by a business, providing a basis for suggestions to minimize the environmental impact of its production phases, improving process and company performance in environmental terms.

MeSH terms

  • Commerce
  • Conservation of Energy Resources* / economics
  • Ecology
  • Energy-Generating Resources*
  • Environmental Pollution / prevention & control
  • Lead*
  • Models, Theoretical*


  • Lead