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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bluegrass PRIDE: SCAPA Students encourage recycling through Battery Buddies club

This Bluegrass PRIDE column is provided by Battery Buddies, Mrs. Ashlie Arkwright’s 8th grade science class at the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Lexington. Battery Buddies are currently working on an Eco Challenge project aimed at encouraging fellow students — and all of us — to recycle used batteries. Bluegrass PRIDE partners with the school on the Eco Challenge project.

Did you know batteries contain toxic acids and metals like sulfuric acid and mercury? And according to Environment, Health and Safety Online, 88 percent of the mercury present in the American solid waste stream comes from dry cell batteries. Most people believe that used batteries should just be thrown away.

The Battery Buddies team (Photo provided)

However, this is dangerous, and damaging to the environment. Batteries that are disposed of incorrectly, for example by being thrown away, can leach harmful, corrosive acids and chemicals into our water supply, causing illness and other environmental problems.

Acids that get into the groundwater supply hurt all the animals that live in the environment by damaging the food and water supplies in that environment. Not only do batteries pollute the ground and water, but they also pollute the air. Some batteries that are thrown away are incinerated. This releases the batteries’ harmful chemicals into the air, making it unsafe to breathe. So when batteries are thrown away, the air, water, and ground are polluted.

This pollution can be stopped if everyone recycles their used batteries. This helps the environment, but it also benefits the consumer. Recycling batteries means reusing the plastics and metals inside the battery. This lowers the demand for and, therefore, the cost of products that use those materials.

If everyone were to recycle their batteries, we would also save significant amounts of landfill space. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans use three billion dry cell batteries and 99 million vehicle batteries every year. If all these batteries were recycled, just imagine the landfill space that would be saved!

Batteries are helpful tools that are used every day. We depend on batteries, and just because they contain harmful chemicals does not mean we should not use them. However, just throwing them away is dangerous to the environment and human health. Recycling them helps protect the environment and can benefit everyone.

As part of an Eco Challenge project for our eighth grade science class at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts in Lexington, our group, The Battery Buddies, is asking everyone to simply take their used batteries to a location in your community that recycles batteries. By doing this, the battery’s harmful and destructive chemicals and acids will be properly taken care of, and their important materials will be reused. So please, recycle your batteries, and help make our Earth a better and safer place.

Bluegrass PRIDE has been working with SCAPA and the Eco Challenge for the last three years. PRIDE is proud to partner with such a great group of innovative, motivated students and highlight their projects.

Click here to read more Bluegrass PRIDE columns.



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