Last year students, staff and the local community of Ramsgrange Community School were busy collecting batteries for two very worthy causes. In October 2022, WEEE Ireland launched a competition calling on all primary and secondary schools to organise a battery recycling drive so that they could be recycled with WEEE Ireland. Ms. Roche and her 2nd Year CSPE class jumped at the opportunity as they were already focusing on sustainability in their classes and knew of the many advantages of battery recycling. As well as that, as part of the competition, WEEE Ireland pledged to make a donation to LauraLynn, Ireland’s Children’s Hospice for every battery recycled.
Ms. Roche stated that when they first heard about the competition, she knew that it was something that they wanted to do to raise awareness for LauraLynn and also to encourage more people to recycle batteries. They started by creating posters and hanging them around the school and by making announcements on the school intercom. They then shared the competition on the school’s social media pages and the local community and businesses all got behind them to start a battery collection drive in the school.
In order to encourage battery recycling among the students, a battery collection point was created in the front hall of the school, and a competition was established among year groups as to what year could collect the most batteries, and the winning year got a prize. The battery drive lasted from January to March and by the end of the competition, over 70 barrels, drums, crates and boxes of batteries had been collected for recycling.
The students were all keen to get behind the battery drive as according to one of the 2nd Year students, based off of their research in class, they are aware that binning batteries is not good for the environment because the batteries contain harmful chemicals that can seep into the ground, damaging plants and animals if not disposed of correctly. They also learned that recycling batteries can contribute to your school’s sustainable development goals to prevent climate change and help contribute to the circular economy by giving batteries a new life.
The competition ended in March 2023 and in September 2023, the school was informed that they won the national completion in the medium secondary school category, collecting more batteries for recycling than any other school in the country in that category. A grand total of the equivalent of 82,200 AA batteries were collected for recycling by the school. Overall from the competition, 2 million used AA batteries – the weight of around five school buses – were diverted from landfill, protecting the environment and supporting WEEE Ireland’s charity partner LauraLynn.
As a reward for all their hard work, the school was presented with a €2000 sports equipment in the school which the school plans on using some of the money to purchase the game ‘bocce ball’ for PE in order to enhance the accessibility of PE for all students in the school.