Johnson Controls

A commitment to sustainable automotive battery recycling

Press release   •   Dec 12, 2011 09:31 +08

Recent media reports have questioned the process of sending automotive batteries to be recycled in Mexico. Lead-acid automotive batteries are the most recycled consumer product in the United States.

Responsible recycling of batteries ensures the environmental protection and safety of our employees and the communities where we do business, while ensuring a secure supply of lead to meet customer demands for energy storage applications that are critical for all economies.

As the leading global manufacturer and recycler of car batteries, Johnson Controls applauds efforts to raise environmental standards to world-class levels. Our operations in Mexico, and in other places around the world, exemplify our long history of manufacturing and recycling batteries safely and responsibly.

Johnson Controls uses a closed loop manufacturing and recycling process, which means a used battery never leaves our process from the time it is picked up to the time it is recycled and delivered back to our manufacturing facility to be used in a new battery. All of the batteries we send to Mexico from the United States are recycled at one of our two recycling facilities in Mexico. In turn, our recycling facilities in Mexico help provide the necessary inputs for our battery manufacturing plants that are also located in Mexico to serve the local market. Cienega was our first recycling facility in Mexico and was acquired as part of a larger transaction. It operates in conformance with Mexican secondary lead recycling operating standards, and we are investing $70 million to bring Cienega up to existing U.S. standards. Our second Mexican recycling facility was built in Garcia in 2010 to operate in conformance with existing U.S. secondary lead recycling operating standards.

In the United States, we are building a recycling center in Florence, S.C., in which we are investing $150 million. Until that facility is fully operational, a majority of the lead used in our manufacturing of batteries in the United States is done by third party recyclers in the United States, not in Mexico.

Our automotive battery business is designed to distribute and recycle batteries in the most efficient manner possible. These efficiencies across the network are key to our ability to serve customers and maintain our operations within the United States. Since 2009 we have announced almost $730 million in U.S. investments in automotive battery manufacturing and recycling, creating more than 1,300 new U.S. jobs plus thousands of additional jobs in construction. Our employee engagement and the health and safety of our employees at all of our locations, including those in the United States and Mexico, are at world-class levels for manufacturing operations among all industries.

Johnson Controls recycles batteries responsibly in all the markets where we do business. Unfortunately, some corporate entities are distorting the truth and playing upon the public’s environmental concerns to advance their own commercial interests and self-serving agenda. They are showcasing the irresponsible actions of some illicit recyclers to tarnish the reputation of the entire Mexican lead recycling industry. An examination of the facts will find this to be the case.