Shuswap Middle School (SMS) has recycled 1,500 pounds of used batteries during the school’s recent battery recycling challenge. Hosted by Jaimie Vezina’s Grade 6/7 class, SMS students, staff and families have stepped up to make a difference, even during this unusual time.
Staff and students first embraced this contest with a plan to be proactive in addressing a local environmental issue that can affect everyone, explains Principal Sydney Griffith. “Together as a thoughtful team of young scientists, activists and learners, the students have collected over 1,500 pounds of used batteries. These batteries will not go to the local landfill and we are celebrating. We know this took a lot of parental support and we appreciate everyone’s help with this awesome effort!”
Why is recycling batteries so important anyway? Here is what the students have learned:
1) Batteries decay & rot!
Batteries begin to rot in landfill sites quite quickly. The chemicals leak into the ground, which cause soil and water pollution. When chemicals contaminate soil and water then animals, humans and the environment can be seriously harmed.
2) Batteries can catch fire!
If we send our batteries out in the trash they can cause a fire in the truck or in the landfill. Of course, landfill fires can cause serious large scale air pollution. By recycling our batteries through a battery recycler, we can avoid this fire risk for our community.
3) There are expensive materials in batteries!
Recycling our batteries reduces the need for raw materials and conserves resources. Battery production relies on materials such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt. The iron in all battery types is recovered to make new goods. The cadmium recovered from nickel-cadmium batteries is used to make new batteries. The nickel in nickel-metal hydride batteries is recovered to make steel. Cobalt, nickel, and copper can be recovered from lithium batteries.