99.997%

Pure Lead

is the product of Aqua Metals’ lead refining process

55

Truckloads

The amount of lead that Aqua produced and shipped to Clarios, the world's largest battery manufacturer

40

International Patents

The number of patents Aqua Metals has obtained, along with US patents and 62 patents pending as of end of 2020

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The Path to Drawdown: Industrial Recycling

Project Drawdown defines recycling as the increased recovery of recyclable post-consumer waste (like metals, plastic, glass, etc.) from the industrial and residential sectors of the economy. Recycling replaces the disposal of recyclable materials in landfills and reduces the need to use new material for production.

Waste from manufacturing, construction, restaurants, office buildings, schools and mines accounts for about half of all waste. All that is grouped together as “industrial and commercial waste.” Much of it, though not all, can be recycled, and a range of strategies can enhance recycling rates.

Some of these strategies include create marketplaces for secondary materials to facilitate the exchange of recyclable and reusable goods, innovation in conversion technologies to make more materials recyclable, and adopting circular business models to recapture “waste” as a valuable resource.

Recycling industrial and commercial material can reduce emissions because producing new products from recovered materials often saves energy. As one example, forging recycled aluminum products uses 95% less energy than creating them from virgin materials.

Project Drawdown estimates that, by 2050, a serious commitment to recycling can help avoid 6.02 gigatons of GHG emissions. To get there, recycling practices need to be adopted much more widely that they are now:

  • <::marker> In 2014, 27% of recyclable waste was recycled
  • <::marker> By 2050, 68% of recyclable materials should be recycled
  • <::marker> That’s 2.6% CAGR between 2014 and 2050

If we can achieve this 68% recycling scenario, we can avoid up to 6.02 gigatons of GHG emissions.

What We Want to See Improve

Rebound from Fire Damage and Expand Quickly

In November 2019, a fire occurred (p. 11) at Aqua Metals’ recycling facility in Tanoe-Reno, Nevada (unrelated to the recycling process) and destroyed and damaged nearly all of the AquaRefining equipment, totaling ~30 million in damages and almost 98% drop in revenue. Rather than restoring the facility back to its full pre-fire capacity and operating all of its AquaRefining modules, Aqua Metals decided to pursue a business model focused on licensing the use of those modules, since this would be far less capital intensive. Regardless of the revenue stream, we are eager to see Aqua Metal bounce back from this accident and start growing again.

Track GHG Emissions

Aqua Metals claims (p. 4) that its recycling process reduces environmental plant emissions and health concerns compared to lead smelting. But they don’t report environmental and emissions statistics that allow investors to evaluate this claim. We would like Aqua Metal to publish annual sustainability reports that contain metrics on their direct and indirect GHG emissions, as well as other key sustainability metrics and targets.

Expand Lithium-Ion Battery Recycling

Aqua Metal’s partnership with LINICO is very encouraging, but with the increasing adoption of electric vehicles worldwide, recycling lithium-ion batteries will become imperative in the very near future. We want to see Aqua Metals become one of the leaders in this area.

Related Metal Recycling Stocks in the Climate Index

View All Climate Index Stocks →

Allocated Company Description

1.02%

LKQ Corp (LKQ)

LKQ recycles thousands of used vehicles into salable parts, tires, fluids and oil - a circular economy model that reduces virgin material use and emissions

0.52%

IAA, Inc. (IAA)

IAA provides a digital marketplace where total-loss, damaged and low-value cars are bought and sold. It’s a valuable industrial recycling service

0.24%

Commercial Metals (CMC)

CMC buys scrap steel and other metals and recycles them into metal products for construction. This reduces virgin material use, energy use and emissions

0.10%

PureCycle Technologies, Inc. (PCT)

PureCycle sells technology that turns polypropylene into virgin-like plastic material. Industrial recycling conserves resources and cuts emissions

0.09%

Harsco Corporation (HSC)

Harsco recycles industrial materials from the metal, railways and energy sectors, which expands the circular economy and reduces virgin materials use

0.05%

Loop Industries (LOOP)

Loop recycles low-value plastics to create high-quality plastics - a circular economy business that reduces virgin material use and emissions

0.02%

Aqua Metals (AQMS)

Aqua Metals turns used lead acid batteries into pure lead and plastic chips. Now that’s a circular economy model

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