The battery industry is getting the lead out. According to the Battery Council International (BCI), Chicago, between 1989 and 1995, the lead-acid battery industry reduced overall lead emissions by more than 40% while increasing battery shipments by nearly 17%. Over the six-year period, battery manufacturers closed 21 older facilities, consolidating production in more modern, efficient plants. Advanced manufacturing practices and environmental controls also have allowed the battery industry to increase production while reducing lead emissions. "The battery industry illustrates that environmental regulation works," says Al Weber, president of BCI. "By taking advantage of improved technology in newer facilities, the industry can meet increased demand for our products while better protecting the environment." More than 96% of battery lead and plastic were recycled in 1996, compared to 64% of aluminum cans and 68% of newspapers. The reclaimed lead and plastic are used in the production of new lead-acid batteries.