If we don’t recycle our batteries they end up in landfills. Cadmium, lead, mercury, nickel, lithium, and various electrolytes leach into the soil after their casings rot. Eventually they find their way to the ocean through groundwater. Finally, they return to our bodies through the seafood we eat. In Ontario, kids keep batteries away from the food chain by participating in a waste reduction week challenge.
How Ontario Kids Keep Batteries from Leaching
Ontario students have kept 5.5 million, primary single-use batteries away from landfills over the past three years. The Ontario Schools Battery Recycling Challenge inspires elementary and secondary schools in the province to keep going.
The challenge offers prizes to top-collecting schools, and provides a steel drum for the kids to drop used secondary batteries in. Being able to see progress and compare with other schools makes this a practical and fun exercise but there is more to it than that. Volunteers visit schools and make inspiring presentations about recycling and the environment. So the Ontario kids keep batteries safe all while understanding why.
The Community Works Together To Do the Right Thing
100 school were easily oversubscribed in the first year. There were even more takers when they increased the quota to 150 schools. They are hoping to expand to 200 annually as participants and donations continue to flood in.
As the drums steadily fill they award badges to schools as they pass their 25%, 50%, and 75% marks. Then there is cause for celebration as the green badge declares ‘we recycled our share”. The program is the brainchild of the Raw Materials Company. It applies itself to finding practical, economical solutions for battery recycling. Moreover, it has a process for recovering all the components of alkaline batteries too.
We think this is a super example of business, the community and kids working together. Best of all, Ontario kids keep batteries on their minds everywhere they go, so their school can be first to earn the coveted green badge.