Duracell promotes battery recycling with elephant sculpture

A life-sized elephant sculpture has been created by artist Tony Diaz as part of an initiative by the battery manufacturer Duracell to encourage portable battery recycling, writes Lucy Lewin.

The Duracell battery elephant at Hanwell Zoo, London

According to Duracell, 20,000 tonnes of portable batteries are sent to UK landfill sites every year, rather than being recycled.

The Duracell battery elephant at Hanwell Zoo, London

With the intention of raising awareness of battery recycling, Duracell has run a campaign focused on encouraging schoolchildren to recycle a greater proportion of their batteries.

Around 1.3 million pupils from 5,800 British schools took part in the ‘Big Battery Hunt’, collecting and handing in used batteries from around their local communities at collection points in their schools (see letsrecycle.com story).

Since 2016, Duracell’s initiative has been run in partnership with the battery compliance scheme Battery Back and the marketing consultancy We Are Futures. Battery Back, which is the UK’s largest compliance scheme for batteries, is operated by WasteCare.

Big Battery Hunt

29,649 of the batteries collected through the campaign were used to assemble the elephant sculpture, which weighs two tonnes and reaches ten feet in height.

The finished sculpture is on display at Hanwell Zoo in Ealing, West London, where it will be in place for the duration of the school summer holidays. Later in the autumn, all the batteries used in its construction will be recycled, Duracell said.

Tony Diaz, the sculptor behind the piece, said: “Creating this elephant has been a humbling reminder that powering change can come from anywhere.

“It is so inspiring to see the younger generation actively involved in making the world a better place and teaching their own parents and loved ones about the importance of recycling.”

‘Young activists’

Christina Turner, associate marketing director at Duracell said: “By reflecting the provocative tone of the young activist movement and shining a spotlight on these young change makers, the Big Battery Hunt aims to inspire long-term, positive recycling behaviours.

“We have been so impressed with the efforts of the 1.3 million students involved in the Big Battery Hunt this year and our recycled battery elephant is a true celebration of all those involved.

“The participation this year has been overwhelming, with over 25% of all primary schools in the UK getting involved.”

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