Burnsview's Environmental Class
- Grade 10
- Grade 11
- Grade 12
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The effect batteries have on the environment when not properly recycled has never been a main focus of the Environmental Studies class at Burnsview. Most students didn’t even know where their batteries go after they’ve been thrown out! When we found out that our school collects batteries and sends them to Call2Recycle, we decided to take the time educate ourselves by learning about what happens to batteries that are simply thrown into the garbage, and decided to create a campaign plan to test out at our school, with the goal of creating a structure that other schools could follow.
We began the campaign by making posters that explain exactly why recycling used batteries is so important. On these posters, we wrote about how when batteries are thrown out, they end up in landfills. Over time, due to erosion by rainwater, wind and cold, the metal casing around the batteries wears off. The harsh, toxic chemicals encased in the batteries can leak into the soil and water, causing damage to marine life and wreaking havoc on ecosystems and animals. We feel that educating is an important first step in any sort of campaign, especially one involving the damage to the environment, because we want students to understand why this is an important issue, and more aware of the damage that simply throwing out your batteries can cause, rather than simply bringing batteries in because they heard it on the morning announcements. These posters were displayed around the school, and caught the eye of many.
We decided that the best course of action was to host a battery drive, where students could bring in their used household batteries to be safely recycled. We also included a small incentive of a sour key for every 10 batteries brought in. After planning out how the drive will work, we decided on two days when students could bring their old, household batteries to the school so we could safely recycle them. We proceeded to make more posters detailing when and where to bring the batteries, along with how to safely store them before bringing them in. To drive the campaign, we felt that social media would be the best platform for our battery drive, since many students use it. Using various social media platforms (for example, posting on our personal Snapchat stories and Instagram posts), we informed students of the drive. In addition, 4 posters that had drawings showing how battery acid can leak into the soil and water were created. As well, we ran 3 announcements on the PA to inform students of the battery drive.
The first day of the drive brought nerves and excitement. We were all concerned that no one would remember to bring their old batteries in, but it ended up being a success! Collectively, we received over 300 batteries. One student brought in 2 full bags, and he received A LOT of sour keys! The second day was an even bigger success. We had plenty of students bring in batteries, and they all seemed to understand that what they were doing was helping our environment. In total, we filled two Call2Recycle collection boxes!
Our campaign was a huge success. We are very proud of our school’s efforts in keeping batteries out of our landfills, and we feel that they are more educated on recycling batteries. The two boxes we filled have been prepped and are being shipped back to Call2Recycle in the coming weeks. New boxes will be coming to us as well. We hope to run another battery drive later in the year, and we also hope that other schools take inspiration from our battery campaign and run their own battery recycling drive. Currently, we are teaming up with our neighbouring elementary school to paint a mural for the city, and we are planning on approaching them to test out this model, and host a battery drive themselves!
Here are some steps for how you can run your own battery drive at school:
Once you have the permission of a teacher, make both informative and eye catching posters to hang up around the school, detailing when, how and where to bring in used household batteries.
Write PA announcements that includes information on the battery drive.
Set up your table for students to bring their batteries to. Have the boxes and prizes set up and ready to go.
Receive and package the batteries from students. Make sure you wear gloves and that each battery is either in a separate, re-sealable bag, or is taped with non-conductive tape.
Secure and place batteries in the Call2Recycle box, and follow instructions on the box to prepare it for shipping.
The boxes are ready to be shipped out! Congratulations on a successful battery recycling drive!