I can be cylindrical or cuboid and am hidden in every room in your home, what am I? Can you seek out the batteries hiding in your home – check your parent / carer is happy with this game of ‘hide and seek’ – don’t remove the batteries - leave them where they are needed! How many have you found? What about … alarm clocks, remote-controls, torches, phones, calculators, cameras, tablets, gaming controls, hearing aids, laptops, electric toothbrushes, toys, watches, electric screwdrivers, smoke alarms …
Batteries, are a fundamental part of the solution to combating climate change – both in terms of our transition to electric vehicles and in allowing us to store renewable energy until it is needed. Your challenge this week is to think about the role of batteries, and the raw materials needed to produce them. How can you conserve these resources? Can you take charge of used batteries – find a box or bowl to collect them in, and make sure they make it to your nearest recycling point. To reduce our own carbon footprint we are asked to think ‘do we really need it’ - do we need all these batteries? Could we choose the manual option, could we opt for mains-powered appliances, could we use more re-chargeable batteries, could we choose the solar-powered version? As Greta Thunberg says ‘Every single person counts’ and in this case, every single battery counts.
When you have taken charge of recycling batteries in your home, and thought about how you could maybe reduce your usage of them, please remember to HIT THE RED BUTTON.
The market for batteries is expected to grow to 19 times its current size over the next decade. We need to use our existing resources as carefully as possible. All batteries are reliant on raw materials mined from the earth – these can include: lithium, graphite, lead, nickel, steel, cadium, cobalt, zinc, copper, aluminium and manganese. Some of these raw materials are only found in a very few places. For example, 60% of the world’s cobalt, an essential component of lithium-ion batteries, is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Various reports have raised environmental and social concerns at some mines, including hazardous working conditions, child labour, water shortages and environmental contamination. Achieving solutions to climate change must not come at the expense of our fellow humans, and their local environment.
You may think that life would be a little tricky if you removed all the batteries that you’ve found in your home, but batteries can be not just ‘nice to have’ but life-changing for many people around the world. Batteries, in solar electricity systems, have the scope to enable access to electricity for the first time for 600 million people across our planet.
If you'd like to learn a little more about how batteries are recycled you might like to watch this youtube video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m59q_C7tm4o
When you have undertaken this challenge, remember to HIT THE RED BUTTON!