1. Drop off a battery – help save the planet!

    Investigation

    Goal

    Create a map of hazardous waste drop-off centers. Find out how many batteries GlobalLab participants use each month.

    Equipment

    1. Camera or cell phone camera.
    2. If you are going to organize your own battery drop-off center (in school, for example), you will need a hand-made container for used batteries.

    Why use data from multiple participants?

    We need many participants to search for nearby hazardous waste drop-off centers and create a map of these locations.

    Investigation Protocol

    1. Read attentively the project description and posts in the blog section and learn about the harmful effects of batteries.
    2. Find the nearest hazardous waste drop-off centers to you. You can use official Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agency sites in your search. 
      If such a center does not exist, install a container for dropping off batteries at your house, school, or a local government or safety building. You can do this by yourself or ask adults for help.
    3. Take a picture of a hazardous waste drop-off center near you or of your container at the site you dedicated for this purpose.
    4. Put the address on the map. 
      Note: If you find more than 1 center, submit multiple Report Forms for this project (1 center equals 1 Report Form).
    5. Inform your friends about the harmful effects of batteries. Tell them batteries are not supposed to be thrown away with other household waste.
    6. Suggest to your class the possibility of conducting an environmental campaign or project geared toward safely gathering and disposing of batteries.

    Read More

    If you look closely at an ordinary AA battery, you will always find a symbol that means “Do not throw away; must be dropped off at a recycling center.”

    There are many different metals in batteries: mercury, nickel, cadmium, lead, lithium, manganese, and zinc. These tend to accumulate in living organisms, including humans, and do considerable harm to the organisms’ health.

    What are the dangers associated with the heavy metals contained in batteries?

    Lead: accumulates mostly in kidneys. It causes brain diseases and nervous disorders.

    Cadmium: accumulates in liver, kidneys, bones, and the thyroid gland. Cadmium is a carcinogen, i.e. it causes cancer.

    Mercury: affects the brain, nervous system, kidneys, and liver. Causes nervous disorders, visual and hearing impairments, disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and diseases affecting the respiratory system. Children are the most vulnerable. Metallic mercury is a poison. Because of its impact on the human body it is classified as a “very dangerous substances”. Regardless of the way mercury enters the human body it accumulates in the kidneys. A battery that was thrown away with other domestic waste ends up at a dump. In this landfill it heats up every summer along with the other garbage or it is burned up in combustion plants, emitting dioxins inside the clouds of smoke. Even minimal doses of these poisonous compounds (their affect is 67,000 times stronger than cyanide) cause cancer and diseases affecting the reproductive system, fetal development, and general poor health in children.

    Dioxins penetrate our body not only in the smoke but indirectly in rain as it falls on soil, water, and plants. These poisons then make their way up the food chain and onto our table in the food we eat and drink. And it does not matter where you live – whether it is near a combustion plant, or landfill, or far from either of these. Dioxins reach far-away places. They have plenty of time to disseminate- their half-life is extremely long and, because they are not microbes, they do not vanish and are not killed by boiling.

    In much of the world used batteries are gathered and recycled separately from other household waste. It is normal to take the extra step necessary to keep our world healthy!

    Safety tips

    Be mindful of the harm batteries can do and be sure not to open them or try to look inside!

    •  
    •  
    • Project was published on:April 17, 2014
    Report Form Before filling in the Report Form, please read the Investigation Protocol