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Member Profile: Quemetco…Recycling Batteries, Investing in Local Jobs and Technology

A proud Industry Manufacturers Council (IMC) member since 1971, Quemetco operates the only lead battery recycling facility west of the Rocky Mountains. Operating 24 hours per day, seven days a week, including most holidays, Quemetco recycles approximately ten million batteries annually at its thirteen-acre facility on 7th Avenue, north of the Pomona Freeway in the City of Industry. With an impressive 98% recycling rate, the facility recycles used lead batteries from vehicles and other lead-bearing scrap to produce 120,000 tons of reclaimed lead for new batteries and other products.

Using best available technologies to continuously update its infrastructure, Quemetco recently installed a power backup system, to prevent unexpected shutdowns of critical equipment, and a state-of-the-art stormwater filtration system. An earlier installation of industry-leading technology, a Wet Electrostatic Precipitator (WESP), reduced airborne particulate emissions by more than 97% to the lowest levels of any such facility in the world. Quemetco’s commitment to meeting or exceeding all local, state and federal environmental standards, ensures maximum health and safety protections for its workforce and the community at large. “Protecting our community is among the highest of our priorities at Quemetco, along with employee health and safety,” said plant manager Scott Bevans. “That’s why it’s so important for us to go above and beyond the baseline regulatory requirements at our facility.”

Today, Quemetco has more than 250 employees, of which about 200 belong to the Teamsters Local 986. Many employees reside in neighboring cities, and many are inter-generational, with fathers and sons, brothers and cousins working side-by-side. Many employees have worked at the facility for up to 45 years, earning them the keys to a new car from the company (8 in the last 10 years!). “Because much of our extended family is from the local community, we are a proud part of the local community” said Bevans. As evidence of its commitment to improving lives within its surrounding community, Quemetco received the Youth Science Center’s Community Partner Award for its leadership and more than $75,000 of support for math and science education for San Gabriel Valley youths. Since 2008, Quemetco has donated approximately $250,000 to the Hacienda-La Puente Unified School District for their various Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs.

The example that Quemetco sets in both its workplace and in the community at large, demonstrates that positive energy doesn’t just come from a lead car battery… it comes from the vision of community leaders and partners who are willing to make a difference and bring a brighter tomorrow for all of us.

If your business or company has a great story to tell, or you have an idea for a future news article, please contact the IMC office at 626-968-3737.

Please click link below to download IMC Member Profile:

IMC Member Profile_Quemetco

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California’s manufacturing and recycling economy

When “manufacturing” is mentioned, you likely picture a factory with products rolling off an assembly line. But there are many off-site functions that are not as obvious as a large plant in an industrial park. One of these is recycling; manufacturers are the biggest consumers of material recycled from end-of-life products and industrial scrap. In 2014, more than 135 million metric tons of outdated or obsolete scrap was transformed into raw materials, which were used to produce new products in the United States.

Scrap recycling is one of the world’s first green industries. It is a pivotal player in California’s environmental protection, resource conservation and sustainability. Since the end-of-life products and industrial scrap are recycled, and are never destined for the landfill, scrap recycling supports our goal to keep 75 percent of all solid waste from going into landfills by the year 2020. It also saves energy. Our climate change plan notes that “recycling of materials decreases upstream greenhouse gas emissions associated with the extraction and processing of virgin materials.” The energy we save by recycling can be used for heating our homes or powering our automobiles.

We need recyclers to stay in California. But they, like other manufacturers, are challenged by competition in global markets, need to find skilled workers and must comply with stringent regulations. This year, the California Manufacturers & Technology Association is pushing for tax policies to encourage long-term investments in new equipment, and is requesting new funding for career and technical education.

We hope this growth agenda will support companies that make up the critical recycling infrastructure in California. For example, Graphic Packaging International, an employer of over 500 people statewide, uses 100 percent recycled paper to produce its folding carton material. Its Santa Clara mill — one of California’s two remaining paperboard mills — is highly energy-efficient, cogenerating its own electricity and selling the excess power to the local utility.

In Fontana, the 240 highly skilled workers at Vista Metals use industrial aluminum scrap, in addition to their own recycled specialty aluminum. This allows them to manufacture a wide variety of aluminum products for aerospace, automotive and semiconductor firms. This process assures that Vista Metals utilizes every bit of its product, and still guarantees the highest-quality aluminum for their customers. Other metal recycling is done by Schnitzer Steel Industries, a global leader in the recycling industry with more than 20 auto and metals recycling facilities in California. The processed recycled feedstock from these facilities is then sold to steel mills and foundries around the world, including its steel mill in Oregon.

Public health is protected by the recycling operations of Quemetco, the most advanced lead recycling facility in the world. The 240 employees in the City of Industry reclaim lead from used car batteries and other scrap at an impressive 98 percent recycling rate, to be used again in new cars. Keeping lead out of the environment and making it safely available for productive uses is Quemetco’s highest priority in California.

California’s environmental and economic leadership depends on improving the business climate for every plant and factory, including the recyclers we don’t often think about.

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Quemetco’s City of Industry Facility Installs State of the Art Stormwater Filtration System

Technology Utilizes a Passive Media Filtration Process to Remove Fine Particulates Without the Use of Chemicals

Quemetco has designed and installed at its City of Industry, California facility a state of the art stormwater filtration system which began operating in January 2017.

The new system consists of the proprietary Aquip® technology by StormwateRx, and utilizes passive media filtration to further remove fine particulates without the use of chemicals.

According to Plant Manager Scott Bevans, “The new system allows us to go above and beyond compliance with current regulatory requirements, and it helps us to anticipate future lower limits for discharge constituents as water quality standards become more and more stringent.”

Quemetco currently meets or exceeds all regulatory requirements established by the Los Angeles County Regional Water Quality Board (LACRWQB) which regulates stormwater discharge in Los Angeles County.

“This is another example of Quemetco’s forward-thinking approach and desire to employ the best available technology to ensure the least possible impact on the surrounding community,” said Bevans.

Quemetco voluntarily invested more than two million dollars in the design, purchase, and installation of this state of the art stormwater filtration equipment.

About Quemetco’s City of Industry, California Facility:
The Quemetco, Inc. (“Quemetco”) facility recycles used lead-based batteries from vehicles and other lead bearing scrap in order to reclaim lead and other recyclable materials. Quemetco is fully permitted to handle hazardous waste and operates under a RCRA Part B Permit that is issued by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”). More information about the company can be found in English, Spanish and Mandarin at http://www.Quemetco.com.

Quemetco City of Industry Facility Installs State of the Art Power Back Up System: Improving Reliability & Preventing Involuntary Shut Down of Pollution Control Equipment

Quemetco’s City of Industry Facility Installs State of the Art DYSC Power Back Up System – Improving Reliability & Preventing Involuntary Shut Down of Pollution Control Equipment

Quemetco has designed and installed at its City of Industry, California facility the Dynamic Sag Corrector (DySC) Power Backup System to prevent involuntary shut down of critical pollution control equipment and improve system reliability. The new system is designed to help eliminate power quality issues related to fluctuations in electricity, such as momentary interruptions, voltage sags or swells, transients, harmonic distortion and electrical noise which go mostly unmonitored by utilities at the facility level. Quemetco spent more than half a million dollars on the system.

“The new power backup system will compensate for momentary or instantaneous voltage dips from the service provider, thereby preventing disruptions to power-sensitive control equipment,” said Scott Bevans, Quemetco’s COI Plant Manager.

This is another example of Quemetco’s leading edge efforts to reduce any potential impact on surrounding communities.

Similar systems are utilized in other process sensitive industries such as medical facilities. During normal operation, the system monitors power quality continuously. During an event the DySC system is activated in under 2 milliseconds.

According to Southern California Edison (SCE), most power interruptions are due to equipment failure outside the control of the user, such as in-service failure of transformers, switches, or conductors; vegetation or animals (e.g., tree branch, rodent, or bird causing a short circuit between conductors) operations (e.g., urgent maintenance w/o 3-day notice), third party incidents (e.g., balloon, car hit pole, dig-in), or natural events (e.g., weather, fire, earthquakes).

About Quemetco’s City of Industry, California Facility

The Quemetco, Inc. (“Quemetco”) facility recycles used lead-based batteries from vehicles and other lead bearing scrap in order to reclaim lead and other recyclable materials. Quemetco is fully permitted to handle hazardous waste and operates under a RCRA Part B Permit that is issued by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (“DTSC”). More information about the company can be found in English, Spanish and Mandarin at http://www.Quemetco.com

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