Pure Earth, an international non-profit organization dedicated to solving pollution problems, awarded Clarios’ Ana Margarita Garza its 2020 “Impact Award” for her efforts to enhance circular economy and closed-loop supply chain principles in Mexico, including promoting a lead-free alternative for traditional Mexican potters to use.
Ana leads Clarios’ circular economy and sustainability efforts throughout Latin America. She has diligently worked in collaboration with Pure Earth on the lead-free pottery initiative for more than four years. Since 2015, Garza worked with Pure Earth and secondary lead recyclers in Mexico to bring awareness of the studies that discovered pottery as one of the main sources of lead poisoning in Mexico. One of the ingredients used in traditional Mexican pottery is a lead-based glaze. The glaze gives the pottery its glossiness and seals pores. Less than 1 percent of clay pots in Mexico are lead free. There is a lead-free alternative glaze, but it is not widely used. Pottery with lead-based glaze is toxic to humans, in particular children.
“The leadership and commitment provided by Ana Margarita Garza and Clarios are critical to ending this centuries-old source of lead exposure to millions of Mexico’s children. And now as we expand our partnership, I am very excited about scaling up and accelerating our proven solutions,” said Richard Fuller, CEO and Founder of Pure Earth.
Alongside Pure Earth, Garza has helped promote the branded label – Barro Aprobado – to distinguish lead-free pottery and raise public awareness about the dangers of leaded pottery. The effort includes helping potters make the switch to using a lead-free glaze. Garza will be honored in a virtual award gala June 29. She will be joined by Chef Adrian Herrera, multiple-time MasterChef Mexico judge, who is an advocate for lead-free, Barro Aprobado, cookware.
“I’m honored to receive this award, which is an important recognition of Clarios’ efforts to make sure cookware in Mexico is safe – maintaining the millenary tradition of Mexican pottery and helping protect human health, especially of those most vulnerable like children and indigenous communities,” Garza said. “I look forward to continuing to work with Pure Earth on this project and others to promote the circular economy in Mexico and throughout Latin America.”
Other work involves educating restaurants, hotels and the traditional Mexican culinary community as a whole, encouraging them to switch to lead-free pottery for cooking and serving. Both restaurants who convert, and potters who go lead-free, are given certification, along with posters and materials showing they do not use lead.
As the No. 1 producer and recycler of lead-acid batteries, Clarios takes its sustainability mission seriously, focusing on children’s health and the environment, circular economy innovation and promoting sustainable communities.