Recycle Batteries, Get “Charged” Less

For my 60-second idea I wanted to approach a small aspect of a large problem.  In today’s world, we are facing a rather large pollution problem.  Within the problem of pollution, battery disposal is an issue that we face, and a lot of people are not properly disposing of their batteries.  It is common knowledge that people use a TON of batteries throughout their lifetime.  From TV remotes, to Xbox controllers, to clocks, all the way to flashlights, we use batteries of all different sizes each and every day.  There are already battery collection stations around the world, but I find there to be a lack of incentive for people to actually travel to them and dispose of batteries properly.  My solution is to create a battery drop off station that also prints out coupons for the size battery you just dropped off.  It would separate the batteries placed into it like a coin machine does, and then prints out small coupons for you to use at participating places.  If you drop off a AA battery, a AA battery coupon is spit out.  After all, if people are disposing of batteries, they are most likely going to need to buy more, so what would be better than saving the environment while scoring a deal on something you need every day.

The cool part about these machines is that they would be powered by the batteries being dropped of.  It is in uncommon knowledge that a lot of batteries that are considered dead, still have a considerable amount of energy in them.  To spit out the small coupons would require little energy, and as people place the batteries in the machine, the little energy needed to throw out a coupon could be powered, at least partially, by the batteries being dropped off.  It would function (hopefully) like this energy seed lamp that uses “dead” batteries:

Energy Seed

In order to ensure there is no issue with this system, a small backup energy source should be installed in the machine as well.  Battery pollution is a hard thing to prevent because people do not directly see the negative effects of throwing batteries in the normal garbage, and they seem to have a thought process of out of sight, out of mind.  If we give an incentive, more people are willing to participate in the proper disposal.  The kicker….each machine would have information on it that explains the importance of proper battery disposal.  This would also aid in raising awareness and possibly help with the problem of battery waste.  With the right partnerships with companies who are looking to show responsibility, this project could significantly reduce the amount of batteries improperly disposed.

9 thoughts on “Recycle Batteries, Get “Charged” Less

  1. I really like this idea. I usually just throw used batteries in the trash, which is not the best solution. I think the incentive of giving people coupons for batteries for properly disposing old ones really has potential to work.

  2. I like this idea as well. I think that if people were given the proper incentive they would use this machine. It is not too far off from people given a discount for reusing “green” bags at the grocery market or from getting money back from returning used water jugs (or Kegs).

  3. Good idea, I did not know that batteries maintain some amount of life when we think they are dead. Call bullshit on those companies, but that’s outside the point. If this machine were possible, would it create new jobs, like who would come, check-up on these machines, and take all the old batteries away? Also, where would these machines be located because people often don’t carry dead batteries on their person? I guess outside the grocery and hardware stores would probably be best.

  4. Maybe a small percent of proceeds could go to funding cleaner battery technology too….

    Or, zip batteries… like rechargeables you could swap out like zip cars are shared…

  5. This reminds me of the toner program at Bucknell – at least 3 years ago when I was there, the environmental club sorted the toners that the university brought to the Sustainability Center. Then a company picked them up and the university got paid for them! The lesson – incentivizing people usually works.

  6. Pingback: Recycle Battery Vending Machine | Thoughts on Topics


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