Companies Highlight Veterans Who Are “Recycling Heroes”
WASHINGTON, D.C., November 7, 2019 – This Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11), as part of America Recycles Week (Nov. 10–16), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is celebrating the role of veterans in contributing to recycling and creating a more resilient materials economy.
On Monday, Nov. 11, EPA, Keep America Beautiful and the Department of Defense will host a special event to recognize Recycling Heroes within the military. The lead battery industry has contributed the personal stories of some of its own employee veterans who are an important segment of the industry’s workforce. With nearly 25,000 employees, the lead battery manufacturing and recycling industry finds veterans’ military training provides the foundation for excellent leadership ability, flexibility and the drive to get things done.
The industry employs many veterans, including Kevin M. Moran, executive vice president of Battery Council International (BCI). He advocates for all members in every facet of the industry. BCI is also one of more than 160 organizations who have signed EPA’s America Recycles Pledge and actively participates with the agency to improve America’s recycling system.
“With its 99% recycling rate, the lead battery industry is a leader in creating a circular economy and being a model for other battery chemistries – and industries – in how to responsibly design, make, use, recycle and remanufacture materials.” Moran served as an enlisted soldier in the U.S. Army and Active Reserves, attaining the rank of staff sergeant.
Moran noted that the lead battery industry, in particular, is thriving. A recent economic study found a nearly 20% increase in reported direct jobs since 2016, with nearly 15% of those jobs exclusively in lead battery recycling. Below, veterans use their own words to share the importance of recycling.
Exide Technologies: Employing Veterans in Canon Hollow, Mo.
Billy Broadhead is the health and safety manager at Canon Hollow. He joined Exide after serving in the United States Marine Corps and has nine years of service in active and reserve duty.
“The battery recycling industry provides many different jobs that are well-suited for military veterans,” Broadhead said. “Recycling really begins with the employment of those who mine or produce the raw materials, those who work to deliver the raw materials (land, rail, water), those who produce the product from the raw materials, those who deliver the finished goods, those who sell the finished goods, and on and on, until the used batteries are delivered to a lead battery recycler to safely recover raw materials to start the process again. Recycling is extremely beneficial to the environment and our U.S. economy.”
Shane Anderson served in the Army National Guard for six years before joining Exide as a transportation supervisor. He shared his view that recycling batteries is not only vital to our environmental well-being, but it also helps keep battery prices sustainable and provides much-needed employment.
“Many recycling facilities in the U.S. are in areas that do not have many job opportunities. The jobs the recycling industry provides are valuable to individuals and the communities where they live.”
Nathanael Loew has been with Exide since 2015 and is an Army veteran with four years of service in Operation Desert Storm. As the blast furnace production leader, he works alongside fellow Army veteran Paul Miller who has been with Exide for over 20 years. Miller and Loew experience firsthand the thousands of lead batteries that are recycled daily in Canon Hollow.
“Recycling lead batteries is a win-win,” Loew stated. “We keep the batteries out of the environment and recycle resources that can be used to manufacture new batteries, ensuring that we never run out of the raw materials we need to produce new lead batteries to power the world forward.”
Interstate Batteries Recycling: Employing Former U.S. Coast Guard Expert
Tod Lyons joined Interstate Batteries Recycling more than 10 years ago and is its communications and sustainability manager. He came to the job with more than two decades of active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard. His duty assignments included two tours with the Coast Guard’s National Strike Force who are considered experts in oil and chemical spill clean-up and environmental remediation. Lyons was also a first responder to the terrorist attacks on The World Trade Center in New York City in Sept. 2001.
Lyons believes that expanding recycling creates job opportunities for veterans and all Americans. “In the recycling industry, the three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – offer employment in skilled and unskilled positions to manage the use of raw materials for the production of new goods. Recycling extends the life of many products … creating job opportunities for veterans and others in every state in the U.S. and around the world.”
He also noted that, “With natural elements, minerals and resources diminishing, it is important that we find ways to get the most life expectancy out of a product. For those of us with a heart for the environment, it makes sense to safely recycle everything we can to make the best use of the diminishing resources we have and protect our environment for generations to come.”
East Penn Manufacturing: Founded by Air Force Veteran
East Penn Manufacturing operates the largest single-site lead battery manufacturing facility in the world. Since its earliest days recycling in a one-room battery shop in 1946, sustainability has been a core value. So has East Penn’s support for military personnel and their families.
East Penn’s founder, DeLight Breidegam, Jr., was an Air Force veteran, and he understood the need for such support. The company continues to hire veterans like Assistant Plant Manager Barry Frain.
“When I was deployed, East Penn continued to contribute to, and maintain, health insurance for me and my family. Normally, you would switch to military insurance during deployment, but East Penn’s philosophy is that when you are deployed, they don’t want you worried about what’s happening at home, but instead to focus on where you are. Leadership also checked in with my family while I was gone. It’s a support network that’s tremendous.”
Because of its consistent support, this year East Penn received the Seven Seals Award from the ESGR (Employee Support of The Guard and Reserve). The Seven Seals Award is presented in recognition of significant individual or organizational achievement, initiative or support.
These are just a few of the outstanding employees who support a growing industry that keeps people mobile and connected. In addition, BCI member companies participate in dozens of programs to help service members transition to the private workforce, including Heroes Make America, Veteran Jobs Mission, Allies in Service, and more.
Learn More at Essential Energy Everyday
Essential Energy Everyday exists to increase awareness of the critical importance of lead batteries in powering our daily lives and future. It encourages continued investment in sustainable lead battery technology to store and provide energy on demand. Its initiative is supported by the two global trade associations that represent the lead battery and lead industries, Battery Council International and the International Lead Association.
About Battery Council International
Battery Council International is the North American trade association representing lead-based battery manufacturing, supply, recycling and distribution companies. For more information on the association, visit batterycouncil.org.