by Joshua Lou, Cypress, California
Promoting the idea of running a school event
I brought my idea of running a 2-week battery recycling event to our school’s Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) club and immediately received positive feedback from the board and club advisor. The idea of battery recycling was so straightforward and relatable to everyone that it was very easy to pass the message and get the ball rolling. The first response from many people including our principal and assistant principal was “what a wonderful idea!” So never be afraid to reach out to propose the idea!
Distributing the battery collection buckets to each homeroom
To optimize the results, we decided to host a contest on two different levels, the cluster and individual levels. In our school, students are divided into homerooms (we refer to these as “clusters” ). With the help of 10 volunteers, a battery collection bucket was distributed to each of the 39 clusters we had. (You can use eco-friendly DIY battery collection boxes too.) I made a Google Sheet to keep track of where the buckets were delivered by whom (so I could remind the same volunteers to collect the buckets back at the end of the event two weeks later). One instance, when a teacher saw the collection bucket, she exclaimed, "I'm so thrilled you guys are doing this event! I have a lot of old batteries, but I don't know what to do with them."
Incentives and funds
As an incentive, we promised a pizza party to the cluster that donated the most batteries and boba milk tea to the top 20 students! Fortunately, our club had the funds to cover that, but it took me a little while to figure out the reimbursement procedure and then collect four signatures (from club treasurer, club advisor, ASB activities director, and assistant principal) as required on the pre-approval form. I had also thought about hosting a boba fundraising event if our club had not had the funds, for your reference.
Making flyers and promoting the event via various means
Below is the flyer I made to promote the event. It was sent in the school's weekly newsletters (with some introductory paragraphs I attached below the flyer), broadcasted in the school’s live TV announcements repetitively during the homeroom period, and could also be seen posted anywhere on the campus and left in the front office to pass to the visitors. I also sent the flyer to the principal, who then forwarded it to all the cluster teachers. One morning some of us also passed 140 flyers to the parents who dropped their kids in the school parking lot (with an adult’s supervision), which turned out very effective because parents usually knew better than their children where the used batteries were hoarded at home. If you would like an editable file for your own event, please feel free to contact us using the Contact Us form!
An alternate flyer (shown below in landscape) was also made to put on each of the battery collection buckets to be distributed to the homerooms, just as a refresher and visual reminder throughout the two week event. Of course, there could be misunderstandings, but I believe that this flyer helped clear up a lot of them. Again, contact us for its editable file.
One important thing I learned was to pre-write the room number on the flyer attached to the bucket (e.g. on the line next to “cluster room #” in the sample flyer below) that allowed us to keep track of the bucket distribution and collection status, as well as what cluster room would win the prize.
End results and testimonials
The end result was stunning. Students brought in bags after bags of used batteries. One teacher told us that since she was not a cluster teacher and didn't have a battery bucket in her room, a student went to her to ask for her used batteries. Other students heard about it and began to ask other teachers to donate batteries in the students’ names. The front office lady also told us that the policeman patrolling our school also brought old batteries from his home to participate. We ended up collecting 12,288 used batteries in total and felt so empowered. I had never seen so many batteries in different shapes and colors. All 700+ pounds of them would have been dumped into the landfills and contaminated our land and water if there weren’t our collection event.