Nationally 97 per cent of toxic household batteries end up in landfill, but a group of South Grafton students have come up with a ground-breaking idea to combat the problem.
The idea is simple but plausible – create a canvas ‘battery bag’ to be hung over the door at students’ homes. The filled battery bag would then be brought to school, and collected periodically by council to be taken to local recycling facilities.
The battery bag is the invention of nine South Grafton Public School students: Leah Henderson; Aiden Jenkins; Tia Burchell; Sharrys Eggins; Brooke Jackson; Ella Nicholson; Jessica Vassallo; Zlatta Vorontsova; and Nathan Banks.
It was created as part of the first ever international Lego League event in Sydney on December 1, bringing together more than 250,000 students from 90 countries around the world to explore the theme of waste and recycling.
The South Grafton students conducted research that indicated the extremely high percentage of batteries being disposed of in landfill, leaching heavy metals and toxins into the environment. The battery bag, labelled “Beat the Battery”, was the students’ answer to the problem.
There are hopes that the battery bag will actually be rolled out in the Clarence Valley, where currently the onus is on householders taking their own batteries to recycling centres in either Grafton or Maclean.
The proposal was put to Clarence Valley mayor, Richie Williamson, who welcomed it as a “great idea”, and committed to further investigations into funding sources and potential implementation of the battery bag project.
“I congratulate the students for coming up with the idea. Obviously there are ways the community can keep batteries out of landfill by recycling … I think the students maybe could teach us all a lesson on this,” he said.
As part of the Lego League event in Sydney, the South Grafton students also worked as a team to build a robot to complete set missions. They placed 10th out of 32 teams in Sydney.