- Grade 10
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Description of project: Zinc Saves Lives ~ Battery Recycling Campaign
By Nairn Payne-Bryan, Kate Hansen and Liv Dunsdon
Reynolds Secondary School, Victoria
Our Zinc Saves Lives project attempts to address the issue of zinc deficiency in Kenya while also finding a way to increase the number of batteries being recycled. This project has three key pillars, environmental sustainability, community involvement and humanitarian impact. As 1.2 billion people suffer from zinc-deficiency globally, we believe that is is an important and pressing topic to address as well as a significant motivator to help people recycle..
Our high school has a strong Environmental presence in the community. One of our contributions is a monthly recycle depot on the fourth Saturday of each month, where people can recycle items that are not accepted by the city of Victoria's recycling program. Many people show up with batteries, but up until now we couldn’t accept them. We added a battery portion to the recycle depot as a part of our campaign. By doing so, we can take all the batteries collected and donate the equivalent amount of zinc, as well as encourage the community to recycle their batteries, making sure that they don't end up in a landfill.
The humanitarian impact of zinc is probably the most commonly overlooked aspect of this campaign. Zinc deficiency is a serious problem in developing countries especially for children who need zinc for their growth and health, specifically their immune systems. Because this is such a large issue, we are participating in the program initiated by WE DAY Free the Children Foundation supported by the organization Teck, who, for every battery that is donated, will supply the equivalent amount of zinc to children in Kenya. Every AA battery contains enough zinc to aid 6 kids, and the zinc tablets provided by Teck will be sent to developing countries to be distributed within poorer communities.
Our third is community involvement, which is important because as a community we can have a far greater impact than as an individual school. When we promote awareness in our school, we can only get so far, but if people in the community are talking about it, if they’re aware of our campaign, the difference we make will be so much greater. The ways we shared our project are listed below.
-posters around the school
-sign + pamphlets (at the recycle depot)
-contact with elementary and middle schools (bins and letter to parents + teaching visits)
-battery collection bins in school office and Flexible Studies hallway as well as at our community depot on the 4th Saturday of each month.
-information on the school’s electronic messaging sign
-information in the newsletter to parents
We are proud of the work that we have accomplished to date. We were able to encompass not one, but two major issues currently being faced in the world through one project, which isn’t always possible. We know as three teenagers we can’t expect to solve the world's problems with one project, but when we work on something so important to us and are able to share it with our whole community, it really means a lot. We are looking forward to sharing this message next with our local elementary and middle schools to inspire them to join our campaign and create a movement.