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Recycling portable alkaline/ZnC batteries for a circular economy : an assessment of natural resource consumption from a life cycle and criticality perspective

Phuong Ha Tran (UGent) , Thomas Schaubroeck (UGent) , Pilar Swart (UGent) , Lasse Six (UGent) , Peter Coonen and Jo Dewulf (UGent)
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Abstract
It has been recognized that a proper and sustainable management strategy might help prevent the risks ofleaching from waste portable batteries (WPBs), which are an important waste stream, and aid the conservationof raw materials. Unlike existing studies on WPB management, which focus mainly on emissions, this case studyuses a resource-oriented approach to thoroughly analyze the performance of a WPB collection and recyclingscheme. This study focused on the WPB take-back and recycling system managed by Bebat in Belgium. Life cycleassessment was conducted using three different existing life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods re-presenting three different perspectives: Cumulative Exergy Extracted from the Natural Environment; AbioticDepletion Potential (ADP), split into impact categories called ADPelementsand ADPfossilfuels; and damage toResource Cost. A new LCIA method, the criticality-based impact assessment method, has also been introduced tocover the socioeconomic aspects of natural resource consumption. The performance of the mixed waste (i.e.,batteries, flashlights) collection and sorting system was assessed from 2011 to 2013. This analysis showed that in2012, the use of collection receptacles made of plastic bags with 30% recycled content, instead of non-recycledpaper or cardboard with 30% recycled content, was one of the main reasons for the low impact of the wholesystem from all assessment perspectives. The performance of entire take-back and recycling system for alkalineand zinc-carbon (ZnC) batteries, the two most popular portable batteries, was subsequently analyzed andbenchmarked against two incineration scenarios: with and without bottom ash recovery. The comparisons of thefour LCIA methods show differing results. The most prominent result is that the ADPelementsscore of the recyclingscenario is 7–9 times lower than that of the incineration scenario, mainly due to metals (i.e., iron and zinc)savings via recycling. The recycling system requires 17–52% less material criticality, but extracts 13–18% moreexergy from the natural environment and has a higher ADPfossilfuelsscore (about 14–16%) than the incinerationsystem. These comparisons indicate that although the alkaline/ZnC battery management system run by Bebatdoes not reduce consumption of all resources, especially fossil fuels and land, it is beneficial in terms of mineralsand metals savings. To further improve the efficiency and environmental performance of the collection system,different measures were implemented. A sensitivity analysis was performed to evaluate the impacts of thosemeasures on the mixed waste collection and sorting system and the alkaline/ZnC battery take-back and recyclingsystem. The results suggested that a combination of different measures, especially reducing the number of re-ceptacles used and enhancing their environmental performance, can considerably reduce the resource footprint.
Keywords
Life cycle assessment (LCA), Waste portable batteries, Alkaline/ZnC batteries, Take-back system, Resource saving, Recycling, LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES, IMPACT ASSESSMENT, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS, RECOVERY, LCA

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MLA
Tran, Phuong Ha, et al. “Recycling Portable Alkaline/ZnC Batteries for a Circular Economy : An Assessment of Natural Resource Consumption from a Life Cycle and Criticality Perspective.” RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING, vol. 135, 2018, pp. 265–78, doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.08.018.
APA
Tran, P. H., Schaubroeck, T., Swart, P., Six, L., Coonen, P., & Dewulf, J. (2018). Recycling portable alkaline/ZnC batteries for a circular economy : an assessment of natural resource consumption from a life cycle and criticality perspective. RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING, 135, 265–278. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.08.018
Chicago author-date
Tran, Phuong Ha, Thomas Schaubroeck, Pilar Swart, Lasse Six, Peter Coonen, and Jo Dewulf. 2018. “Recycling Portable Alkaline/ZnC Batteries for a Circular Economy : An Assessment of Natural Resource Consumption from a Life Cycle and Criticality Perspective.” RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING 135: 265–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.08.018.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Tran, Phuong Ha, Thomas Schaubroeck, Pilar Swart, Lasse Six, Peter Coonen, and Jo Dewulf. 2018. “Recycling Portable Alkaline/ZnC Batteries for a Circular Economy : An Assessment of Natural Resource Consumption from a Life Cycle and Criticality Perspective.” RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING 135: 265–278. doi:10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.08.018.
Vancouver
1.
Tran PH, Schaubroeck T, Swart P, Six L, Coonen P, Dewulf J. Recycling portable alkaline/ZnC batteries for a circular economy : an assessment of natural resource consumption from a life cycle and criticality perspective. RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING. 2018;135:265–78.
IEEE
[1]
P. H. Tran, T. Schaubroeck, P. Swart, L. Six, P. Coonen, and J. Dewulf, “Recycling portable alkaline/ZnC batteries for a circular economy : an assessment of natural resource consumption from a life cycle and criticality perspective,” RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING, vol. 135, pp. 265–278, 2018.
@article{8572296,
  abstract     = {{It has been recognized that a proper and sustainable management strategy might help prevent the risks ofleaching from waste portable batteries (WPBs), which are an important waste stream, and aid the conservationof raw materials. Unlike existing studies on WPB management, which focus mainly on emissions, this case studyuses a resource-oriented approach to thoroughly analyze the performance of a WPB collection and recyclingscheme. This study focused on the WPB take-back and recycling system managed by Bebat in Belgium. Life cycleassessment was conducted using three different existing life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) methods re-presenting three different perspectives: Cumulative Exergy Extracted from the Natural Environment; AbioticDepletion Potential (ADP), split into impact categories called ADPelementsand ADPfossilfuels; and damage toResource Cost. A new LCIA method, the criticality-based impact assessment method, has also been introduced tocover the socioeconomic aspects of natural resource consumption. The performance of the mixed waste (i.e.,batteries, flashlights) collection and sorting system was assessed from 2011 to 2013. This analysis showed that in2012, the use of collection receptacles made of plastic bags with 30% recycled content, instead of non-recycledpaper or cardboard with 30% recycled content, was one of the main reasons for the low impact of the wholesystem from all assessment perspectives. The performance of entire take-back and recycling system for alkalineand zinc-carbon (ZnC) batteries, the two most popular portable batteries, was subsequently analyzed andbenchmarked against two incineration scenarios: with and without bottom ash recovery. The comparisons of thefour LCIA methods show differing results. The most prominent result is that the ADPelementsscore of the recyclingscenario is 7–9 times lower than that of the incineration scenario, mainly due to metals (i.e., iron and zinc)savings via recycling. The recycling system requires 17–52% less material criticality, but extracts 13–18% moreexergy from the natural environment and has a higher ADPfossilfuelsscore (about 14–16%) than the incinerationsystem. These comparisons indicate that although the alkaline/ZnC battery management system run by Bebatdoes not reduce consumption of all resources, especially fossil fuels and land, it is beneficial in terms of mineralsand metals savings. To further improve the efficiency and environmental performance of the collection system,different measures were implemented. A sensitivity analysis was performed to evaluate the impacts of thosemeasures on the mixed waste collection and sorting system and the alkaline/ZnC battery take-back and recyclingsystem. The results suggested that a combination of different measures, especially reducing the number of re-ceptacles used and enhancing their environmental performance, can considerably reduce the resource footprint.}},
  author       = {{Tran, Phuong Ha and Schaubroeck, Thomas and Swart, Pilar and Six, Lasse and Coonen, Peter and Dewulf, Jo}},
  issn         = {{0921-3449}},
  journal      = {{RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING}},
  keywords     = {{Life cycle assessment (LCA),Waste portable batteries,Alkaline/ZnC batteries,Take-back system,Resource saving,Recycling,LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES,IMPACT ASSESSMENT,ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS,RECOVERY,LCA}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  pages        = {{265--278}},
  title        = {{Recycling portable alkaline/ZnC batteries for a circular economy : an assessment of natural resource consumption from a life cycle and criticality perspective}},
  url          = {{http://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.08.018}},
  volume       = {{135}},
  year         = {{2018}},
}

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