The box that your kosher noodles or favorite breakfast cereals come in may contain an ingredient that once was in a lead-acid battery, but now is a kosher product.
It may not sound appetizing, but one company's recycling of lead-acid batteries - an environmentally helpful process that primarily yields lead, also yields sodium sulfate - a salt commonly used in the manufacturing of starch. Doe Run Company's Buick Resource Recycling Division also takes the extra step of getting that salt product certified kosher.
Lou Magdits, Doe Run's director of raw materials, says none of the sodium sulfate the company produces is contained in food, but it is used in making an industrial, corn-based starch that goes into papermaking or cardboard production. Doe Run sought the kosher certification because the paper packaging may come into contact with food at a later time. Chicago Rabbinical Council certifies the salt-creation process and raw materials.
Doe Run's sodium sulfate is also used in the manufacturing of other products such as glass, powdered laundry detergent and carpet freshening products. The company processes more than 13.5 million lead-acid batteries annually. Battery recycling yields approximately 1,200 tons of sodium sulfate a month.