By Sophie Saibi, TAE Silicon Valley INTL Branch, California
Planning ahead and informing neighbors
Before collecting batteries, I reached out to the people in my neighborhood and informed them about the 1MB campaign in a brief email. We planned to collect the batteries over 2 days during the weekend: the first day to walk around and talk to neighbors to raise awareness and collect batteries, leaving flyers if no one was at home; come back the second day for the remaining pickup. In retrospect, this also made it easier to transport the batteries in 2 batches -- they can get really heavy!
Going door to door
During the first day, we went door-to-door around the block. Many people had been keeping used batteries at home for the past year and were very enthusiastic that we came. Some of the batteries given to us were so old that they were corroded and started leaking chemicals! So we brought gloves and protection bags to keep ourselves safe. We received more batteries from our elderly neighbors - one of the elderly households contributed almost ⅓ of the used batteries. The second day we walked around the block again covering the remaining households. Some neighbors whom we had talked to the first day collected all their batteries and left them on the front porch in clear ziplock bags.
What we learned
After canvassing our neighborhood, I learned a few important things:
Making flyers and promoting event
When going door to door, I came up with a concise ‘elevator pitch’ to quickly introduce the 1MB campaign:
Hello I am your neighbor Sophie and I am a part of a student-led, nonprofit organization called Teens Against E-waste. Right now we are running a 1 million battery campaign to raise awareness and help recycle 1 million used household-batteries. If you have any alkaline or small lithium batteries, I can help bring them to a local recycling center.
As I went around, I carried a small, fireproof bag to store the batteries. On this bag, I taped the Teens Against E-waste title and TAE logo, so that when I introduced the organization, the neighbor could follow along and match up what I said with a visual. In addition to the short pitch, I left flyers for the neighbors who weren’t home or didn’t want to be solicited. The flyer was made to be short and right to the point. If you would like an editable file for your own event, please feel free to contact email@example.com!
End results and testimonials
We ended up collecting 712 used batteries in 2 days! After experiencing the enthusiastic responses from neighbors and seeing the impact of my action, I am excited and confident to do more. Based on the sharing from other Branch leaders and my own learning, I am already planning the next collection event at a local senior apartment facility!
Following is a short checklist to help you prepare for a neighborhood battery collection and recycling event: