Registered: December 2016
City/Town/Province: Coral Springs
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I have lived in South Florida for my entire life and I've been quite lucky to enjoy the environment we have here. As a result, I have always been quite aware of the environemntal repurcissons of discarding of certain hazardous materials incorrectly. Four years ago, as a freshman in high school I created a environmental program called the Battery-Ink Recycling Project (BIRP). With BIRP I sought to focus my school's and community's attention on the need to recycle batteries, ink cartridges, toner, printing drums, cell phones, light bulbs, tablets, and laptops. When I began the program, people were simply discarding these items, unaware
of the repercussions of doing so. These items contain cadmium, lead, mercury, lithium, and other substances hazardous to the
environment and human health. If not properly disposed of, these substances can leach into soil and groundwater, or can release
toxins into the air, if incinerated. If animals and human beings consume water and plants tainted with these chemicals, they may suffer abdominal pain, chemical burns, liver and kidney damage, asthma, birth defects or cancer. Landfills also generate harmful methane gas. I arranged a partnership with Office Depot, sending these items to its recycling center in exchange for a small monetary fees. I distributed throughout my school and community, boxes and posters promoting my collection efforts. Over time, my community became increasingly aware of my efforts and the many locations where they could deposit their used items. I would personally empty the boxes several times a week, as needed. Included within the scope of my collections were all of the ink and toner cartridges from my school. I would then pack and ship anywhere between forty to 150 pounds a week to Office Depot's recycling center. I saved all funds that Office Depot paid and on November 5, 2015, I personally donated the entire amount to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in a small ceremony held at my school. Now that I am in college, I am working diligently to start a similar program on campus.