A few years ago, Livermore High School science teacher Stephen Bailey began organizing battery recycling on campus to keep toxic metals out of the landfill. Soon, he was carting over 200 pounds of batteries per year to the local transfer station.
Troubled by this wasteful practice, Mr. Bailey applied for an Altamont Education Advisory Board grant to purchase rechargeable batteries for the science department.
"First, we polled the teachers to find out what types of batteries were in use, then students and I investigated which brand of battery performed best. Our tests of Eneloop, Duracell, and Tenergy batteries had Eneloop winning out for extended battery life."
"Next we set up our system. Basically, teachers can bring in batteries from their class and exchange them with me for rechargeable batteries. If they bring in a disposable battery, we recycle it and provide the teacher with a fully charged replacement."
Although some teachers reported that rechargeable batteries don't last as long as a disposeable battery, they are quite satisfied with the fact that they are able to get immediate replacement of batteries on campus.
As Science Department chair, Mr. Bailey processes all purchase requisitions for the department. Since the implementation of the rechargeable battery program, no disposable batteries have been purchased by his department.
After establishing this successful program in the science department, Mr. Bailey and his students reached out to other high-battery use classes such as digital photo. The digital photo classes are thrilled to no longer have the recuring expense of specialty batteries, and Mr. Bailey is thrilled about the reduction of troublesome disposable lithium batteries.
Currently, students in AP Environmental Science are working to develop a campus-wide system for rechargable battery use. They will be polling teachers, ordering batteries and chargers, and developing a system to ensure that expensive rechargeable batteries stay on campus.