My dislike for batteries, (let’s call it a phobia even) started when I was eight years old. I remember it well: it was 1982 and Star Wars was airing for the first time on network TV.

While my dad’s self-esteem was being well and truly destroyed by the Betamax recorder – he really needed a plan – my brother and I were busily setting up our Star Wars toys to re-enact all the awesomeness that was about to blare from our 20-inch Decca colour TV.

I can’t quite remember the actual toy requiring to be energised. Maybe it was the AT-AT Walker or the Millennium Falcon but I vividly remember my older brother, devil child that he was, reaching into a box of old crusty batteries, handing me a 9-volt Eveready and saying: “lick the top of that”. Job done bro’.

Traumatised, I never quite recovered from my and fear and loathing of the wee stinkers.

The Herald:

Our house was until recently a battery free zone. If they weren’t safely ‘contained’ in the TV remote, they were placed securely in the bin.

Imagine my reaction then when my nineyear- old daughter came home from school one day with a small cardboard box emblazoned with that sinister pink bunny on it.

The scheme the wee one was going on about was the Big Battery Hunt in which some 1.3 million British pupils and 5,800 schools participated to make a dent in some of the 20,000 tonnes of batteries which go to landfill.

That’s equivalent to the weight of 4000 elephants being tipped into the ground, when they could be recycled.

Since February 2010, all shops in the UK selling more than 32kg of batteries each year have to have collection facilities for duds which can then be recycled. In the first pilot project of its kind in any Scottish block of flats, Newton Property Management has installed 10 battery recycle points in a Glasgow development of 105 apartments.

The Herald:

As a conservative estimate, this housing development disposes of around 1000 of the evil little things every year, most of which had gone straight to landfill – but not any more.

The batteries are harvested every week by the concierge and taken to the local authority recycling centre. If proved successful, we will roll out to all staffed developments.

Anyway, I think I’m over my phobia now.

There’s nothing more cathartic than coming up with a solution and executing it. Greta, the world isn’t beyond saving: like my Betamax dad in 1982, the adults just need a plan.

Derek MacDonald is joint managing director of Newton Property Management.

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