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Canada expands battery recycling hub to capture polypropylene

Canadian firm KC Recycling Ltd. has received US$ 852 000 (EUR 700 000) from the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund to realise a US$ 1.2 million plant upgrade. This significant investment will allow more efficient recycling of plastics present in the car batteries waste stream.

E-scrap and end-of-life battery specialist KC Recycling is busy renovating its facility in Trail, British Columbia, which has become a hub for processing automotive batteries. These units have plastic casings that deserve a dedicated recycling line, so the company ceo Peter Stamper says.

He explains the modernised recycling plant will continue to treat cathode reay tube (CRT) glass from old televisions and monitors as well as electronic scrap while growing its car battery recycling operation. Stamper cites a sharp increase in demand for plastic as the main reason to focus more on this post-consumer polypropylene scrap, which represents about 5% of the weight per battery.

KC Recycling handles around 80 000 000 lbs (36 200 tonnes) worth of car batteries every year, thus generating some 3 600 000 lbs (272 300 kg) of regrind polypropylene plastic. This unfinished plastic regrind is currently exported to polypropylene compounders, where it is pelletised into product specifications that meet manufacturers’ requirements.

The improved plant provides a local solution for this last step with the addition of an on-site washing, extrusion, and pelletising lab. KC Recycling will test the refined material to ensure it meets specs before shipping it to battery manufacturers where it is an input for new batteries.

‘The whole KC Recycling team is proud we’re expanding operations to enable production of finished recycled plastic and providing a real circular economy solution right here in the Kootenays. It aligns with our mission of preserving a sustainable world for future generations,’ Stamper says.

‘We’re thrilled our project meets the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund criteria to increase domestic recycling capacity as Canada makes changes to keep plastics out of the ocean and comply with the global Basel Convention,’ he adds.

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