Batteries Don’t Belong in the Trash

For the past three years, Anirudh Suri, an incoming Marshall Middle School 8th grader and alumnus of Ellen Browning Scripps Elementary School (EBS), has recycled batteries to save the earth. When he was in 5th grade, he started ONE CELL, a battery collection and recycling program for schools. His program was inspired by a battery contest that he entered and won.

He says there are many reasons we should pay attention to the issue of toxic wastes released by disposing batteries with regular trash. A law passed in California in 2006 makes it illegal for households to dispose of alkaline batteries irresponsibly. In spite of this, U.S. households throw out about 179,000 tons of batteries a year, out of which only 14,000 are rechargeable. With ONE CELL, people can dispose of the batteries in a safe manner.

With his program, participating schools such as EBS receive specially designed envelopes for students to take home, fill up with household alkaline batteries, and bring back to school.

He has run the program for the past three years at EBS. I had a chance to sit down with Anirudh and ask him a few questions about the ONE CELL program.

Question: Why do you provide specially designed envelopes for ONE CELL?

Answer: Since we are sending these collection bags home with kids in school, we wanted to make sure they were safe to transport batteries that might have leaks or be old. These polyfill, easy seal bags make it easy to store up to 40–50 batteries in a single bag safely.

Question: What was the toughest part of running ONE CELL?

Answer: The toughest part of this program has been making people aware and getting the word out that household alkaline batteries don’t belong with trash.

Question: What are your goals for ONE CELL this year?

Answer: One of my goals is to raise funding for the program and to partner with other nonprofits that support the cause of saving the earth. I have been fortunate to work with two excellent nonprofits, the San Diego Samskruti Kendra and San Diego EarthWorks. Both of these groups supported ONE CELL this year.

Anirudh decided he wanted to do his part to save the earth and make it better for the next generation. He is well on his way with ONE CELL

Arjun Suri, EBS Incoming 4th Grader

[Editor’s note: Arjun wrote this article with support from his EBS 3rd grader, Ms. Alicia Gelaro.]