12-year-old Entrepreneur and Ecologist is Changing the Way Batteries are Disposed
“When I was eight years old, I went to visit my grandparents in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. They live near the Krisha river, where I witnessed people tossing rubbish and plastic waste into the water. This was the point at which the ecologist in me emerged, and I kept thinking to myself, ‘I want to do something,” Nihal explained.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the world and environment, but I’ve never given it any consideration beyond watching a documentary and reading novels about it.” Initially, I considered launching a plastic recycling campaign to raise awareness in India, but my father said that since I am in the United States, I should do something here because doing something for India from here would be difficult. And it was here that the concept for Recycle My Battery was born, as well as the effort that went into it,” he continued.
Nihal explained how the concept for Recycle My Battery came about after hearing about a large fire at a waste disposal site in California. “The fire was massive, generating billions in damage, and it was all sparked by a lithium-ion battery,” says the report. When I asked my father what could be done about the problem, he responded that it could be fixed, but that many people who were observing would simply ignore it. This disturbed him,” he continued.
Nihal went on to say that he did more research into battery bursts and discovered that worldwide corporations such as Apple, among others, have concerns with batteries. “People weren’t going to stop using batteries on their own, and why should they?” They’re quite beneficial. “Surely there has to be a method to keep them out of landfills,” he remarked. This is when he began collecting batteries at his school and in the neighbourhood. “My father would drive me throughout town collecting used batteries, which I would then take to free recycling sites at stores like Staple,” Nihal explained.
“Unfortunately, after a few weeks, the merchants began to notify me that they could no longer accept my batteries because I was bringing so many.” I was upset, but I understood that I couldn’t rely on others any more and would have to take action on my own. He continued, “I already had the drive to be a leader, and now I had a cause to be enthusiastic about, so I decided to begin my own non-profit—Recycle My Battery.”
Recycle My Battery, Nihal’s non-profit, aims to raise the rate of sustainable battery recycling in order to aid the environment and combat climate change.
“To achieve so, we’ve chosen two key strategies: education and facilitation.” “I believe that by concentrating our efforts on these two areas, we will be able to reach the greatest number of people and contribute to reducing the harmful impacts of inappropriate battery dumping on the environment and climate,” Nihal added.
While Nihal sees that as a fledgling NPO, they have accomplished a lot, he believes that bringing additional people on board who can assist us disseminate our message is the key to greater success and change. “Aside from education and facilitation, we have attempted to reach out to political figures and prominent people in private corporations to raise awareness and gain wider support,” he added. “We will continue to contact influential people and organisations to spread the key points of Recycle My Battery and have the greatest impact we can.”
More than 1.5 million people have already signed up for Recycle My Battery. “We’re starting to take benefit of the shift to online schooling and the emergence of virtual meeting platforms like Zoom to reach more individuals across the world with our awareness efforts,” Nihal added.
Nihal hopes to build his NPO and fulfil his goals after receiving numerous compliments from several US senators. “We purposefully targeted a wide range of populations, including both young people and adults, to enable us to distribute our messaging as widely as possible and have a genuine impact on how people think about battery dumping and how it can have major negative environmental consequences,” Nihal added.
“These batteries are needed in everything from cell phones to cars, drones, and computers, and their use will only grow in the future.” “I decided I needed to attempt to help, and so I did,” Nihal explained. Till far, he and his 150-strong team of young people have recycled over 1,50,000 discarded batteries and taught over 1.5 million people about the necessity of battery recycling. RMB recently teamed with the Telangana government, which is establishing a recycle facility plant, to raise battery recycling awareness and engage school and university learners.
Nihal’s NGO aspires to the day when zero batteries are discarded in the garbage. He believes that at least a few children from each nation should work towards this aim.