Teck recognized for recycling efforts in Trail

Teck Resources Ltd. was ranked as one of the globe’s 100 most sustainable corporations for a second year.

Teck Resources Ltd. was ranked as one of the globe’s 100 most sustainable corporations for a second year, by a media and research company that defines itself by focusing on “clean capitalism.”

Published quarterly as an insert in the Globe and Mail and Washington Post, Corporate Knights Magazine uses the term clean capitalism when referencing an economics philosophy in which market prices reflect social, economic and ecological benefits and costs, and company players acknowledge the full impacts of their actions.

Teck Trail Operations made the cut with a material stewardship nod for recycling 25,000 tonnes of material last year including electronic waste and lead acid batteries.

Recycling products are shipped to the Trail plant from across Canada and the United States, including B.C. and Alberta, and are processed into finished metals such as lead, zinc, germanium and indium.

The tonnages of various materials vary from year to year, explained Catherine Adair, Teck’s community relations leader, adding that in 2013 lead acid battery recycling was slightly higher, while e-scrap was slightly lower.

Lead from vehicle batteries accounts for up to 25 per cent of Teck’s lead production, and last year the company recycled over 16,000 tonnes of lead in battery products.

Additionally, 400 tonnes of zinc alkaline batteries were converted into high-grade refined zinc metal, and 70 tonnes of fluorescent light bulbs were refined in to silica, iron and mercury.

Since 2006, the Trail plant has recycled e-waste, which is defined as any product that includes electronic components such as computers and televisions.

Those discarded materials were broken down into 9,000 tonnes of e-scrap, or a subset of e-waste such as computer wire boards that contain a higher metal content.

Two years ago, Teck Trail Operations announced the expansion of the recycling process but has since put the $210 million project on the back burner.

“The No. 4 Furnace Project remains deferred at this time,” said Adair. “Any decision to restart the project would be based on a number of different variables, including global market conditions.”

Overall, the company was recognized by the Corporate Knights publication for partnering with UNICEF Canada to introduce zinc as a treatment for dysentery in India; improving use of water at mining operations; purchasing land in the East Kootenay for the purpose of conservation; a decline in workplace injury; and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.