Motolite promotes ‘urban mining’, sustainability via recycling program

Published March 22, 2021, 4:03 PM

by Edgard Hilario

Motolite continues to promote earth-friendly manufacturing and sustainability via its own version of “urban mining” in partnership with corporations and civic groups. 

Motolite has partnered with the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and ABS-CBN Foundation for the collection of used batteries, which are being reprocessed back to commercial use by Motolite’s third-party recycler and technology-enhanced Evergreen Environmental Resources Inc. (EERI).

Latest data showed that despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, Motolite has been collecting around 2,500 metric tons (MT) of used batteries every month, or 30,000 MT annually. This is already equivalent to the volume of solid wastes being produced by the entire country for a day.

Actual unloading of scrap batteries from partner companies. Strict handling and storage protocols are observed.

Motolite’s partnerships with PBSP through its “Balik-Baterya” initiative and ABS-CBN Foundation under its “Bantay-Baterya” program involve more than 200 companies, including PLDT, Inc., San Miguel Corp.,Globe, Meralco, Nestle, and Energy Development Corp. Proceeds from the used batteries are being used by PBSP and ABS-CBN Foundation in their social development programs.

Motolite also has a trade-in scheme with its dealers and partner-retailers. Customers that are surrendering their used batteries are getting up to a 9% discount in their purchase of new ones.

 The façade of EERI’s world-class battery recycling plant.

Motolite then brings these used batteries to EERI, which operates a world-class recycling facility in Bulacan. Its state-of-the-art equipment and ISO-certified operations and management allow EERI to recover and reprocess back to commercial use some 96.5 percent of the components of old batteries.

Motolite uses the output of EERI in producing new batteries, making it a good model for sound urban mining — or the recovery of raw materials from used products and wastes — practices and green manufacturing. Motolite makes battery production in the country sustainable, as every used battery recycled translates to a new battery, or a ratio of 1:1.

Motolite no longer sources primary lead, negating the need for destructive underground mining. The processing of secondary lead also requires 40-percent less energy compared to using primary lead. For plastic components, Motolite already has enough pellets for the black plastic parts of batteries. It only needs to buy virgin plastic resins for the colored casings or parts, which represent only about 30 percent of its requirements.

Motolite and EERI’s recycling initiative also saves the environment and the public from the haphazard dumping of hazardous wastes, something that other battery brands in the market are unable to do.

EERI, aside from hurdling the stringent requirements of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, has received the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 14001:2015, 9001:2015, and 50001 certifications as well.