Maryam and Nivaal Rehman | Toronto, Canada
E-waste is one of the most harmful kinds of waste that people throw away. Our electronics, batteries and associates items all take a long time to decompose and also end up releasing harmful chemicals into the environment wherever they are thrown away
Reusing and recycling are both major solutions to this issue. The EPA, or the Environmental Protection Agency states that there are more than 3 billion batteries thrown away each year by Americans alone. In 2010, Canadians threw away 495 Billion Batteries according to the CBC. As presidents of our school’s environmental Council, the two of us decided to run a battery drive and help solve this issue. We collected more than 1,000 batteries and sent them to the Zinc Saves Lives Battery Recycling Initiative. This was an initiative founded by the company Teck, which is Canada’s largest diversified mining companies and one of the world’s largest producers of Zinc. One AA battery has enough Zinc to treat six children with diarrheal disease. By collecting and donating batteries to this initiative, you have your batteries recycled, and the company donates the equivalent amount of zinc from each battery to the WE movement’s Zinc and Health work in WE villages in Kenya.
Running a battery drive is a very effective method of solving and addressing the E-Waste problem. Whether it is with an initiative like Zinc Saves Lives, or another organization that recycles batteries, is up to you. No matter what you choose, you can definitely take action by running a battery drive at your school. Read on to find out how.
1. Recruit a team or Pitch to a club
To run a successful battery drive, you need a strong team of people who can help you complete all the tasks required for this. Gather a group of trustworthy friends, speak to them about why this is important, or pitch the idea to a club. At our school, we have several social justice-based clubs. Two of the clubs that we run who collaborated with us on this initiative, are the Youth In Action and Environmental Clubs. We were a group of 20-25 students, and 4 teachers in total. While having a big group can help make your campaign successful, do not be discouraged if you do not have as big of a team. As long as you are all passionate about the cause, and believe that you’ll be able to make a difference, you can achieve your goal.
2. Come up with a plan
This may seem like a very obvious step to you, but it is actually one of the ones that you have to take the most seriously. If you do not have a plan with clear goals, jobs for everyone helping, concrete dates and organization, your battery drive will not be successful. Some things on your checklist for your plan should be: A schedule/timeline, list of jobs, battery drop-off location and a box for people to put their batteries in.
3. Discuss with your team and decide who will do which job
With any successful project, communication is a vital step. You need to speak to your team members and make sure that you are all on the same page with the plan. Give certain tasks to people who are interested in taking them on, and then give them a deadline to complete the tasks by. If that person does not complete the task by then, make sure you are following up or have a backup plan in place.
4. Begin Marketing!
After you have set the dates to run your battery drive, make sure you do a lot of marketing! Use your plan and your team to help you develop posters, announcements, and social media posts that will help get the word out about your initiative. Make sure that everyone knows this is happening. Whether this is being run at a school, university, or at your workplace, making sure that the marketing is done right is so important. Most people have batteries they want to throw away, and they will be willing to donate them, but you just have to make sure that the message gets to them. Make a theme for your marketing strategy, and use similar fonts, colours and images in your marketing items so people recognize your campaign more when they look at it across different mediums.
5. Drop off your batteries to a recycling/pickup location
Once you have collected all your batteries throughout the dates that you decided, it's time for you to drop them off. Depending on whether this is with a recycling organization who has a particular location for you to drop them off to, or a university that will do that for you, this is something that is up to you. And that's all! These were some of our tips to running a successful battery drive, which is such a helpful environmental initiative that can help make this world a better place.