The first Ontario edition of Battery Blitz contest hosted by Call2Recycle and Earth Rangers kicks off in Markham campus. From left to right are: Minster David Piccini, MPP Laura Smith, Call2Recycle president Joe Zenobio and Earth Rangers president Tovah Barocas. – Charles-Antoine Dubois photo Scarlett Liu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The first Ontario edition of the Battery Blitz contest hosted by Call2Recycle and Earth Rangers is coming up in April. The announcement was made during the launch event held at St. Anthony Catholic Elementary School in Markham earlier this month.

The contest, which is organized twice a year, in April and October, with partner elementary schools across Canada, encourages students to collect as many used batteries as possible over the contest period, and winning schools with the most battery collections receive a monetary prize that they can use to fund environmental education and materials.

Through this initiative, students can form lifelong habits and play a positive role in managing their environment.

The contest has been active since 2016 and is already present in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island. Joe Zenobio, president of Call2Recycle, believes that the expansion into Ontario is a step up for the contest, with more than 40 new schools already signed up for the contest, and 60 more expected to participate this year.

“Call2Recycle is committed to help reach Ontario’s objective of collecting 3.5 million kilograms of used batteries in 2023, through its extensive collection and recycling network,” he said.

At the end of the contest, the used batteries will be collected and shipped to sorting centres in Ontario or neighbouring provinces, where they can be sorted according to size, type, and chemical components.

Once they are sorted, Zenobio explains, each type of battery is sent to a different recycling plant, where the batteries are separated into their individual components so that they can be properly reused.

Most batteries have simple components and Call2Recycle is able to reuse these to manufacture common items such as stainless-steel kitchen appliances or bicycles, while for other batteries contain rare metals like lithium, which is used in laptops and electric vehicles. The used lithium batteries can be recycled as much as possible to make new ones.

“Everyone can play a role in protecting our environment, which is why it’s especially inspiring to see elementary school students take the lead in cleaning up their community through the Battery Blitz Collection Contest,” said David Piccini, Ontario’s minister of the environment, conservation and parks.

In 2022, 53 Canadian elementary schools participated in the contest, collecting more than 13,700 kilograms of used batteries for recycling.

Since its inception in 1997, Call2Recycle has diverted almost 40 million kilograms of batteries from Canadian landfills. It has a network of more than 10,000 participating collection locations across Canada, including at retailers and municipal facilities.

Ontario elementary schools interested in participating in the Battery Blitz contest are invited to contact Earth Rangers at lgalati@earthrangers.com to sign up for the contest and participate in the two editions of the contest in April and October 2023.

By Scarlett Liu, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Mar 29, 2023 at 15:52

This item reprinted with permission from   Economist & Sun   Markham, Ontario
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