Although consumer electronics are tending towards rechargeable batteries these days, those ubiquitous alkaline disposables continue to present an environmental problem. Now Sungwoo Park and Sunhee Kim have designed the Energy Seed, an illuminating way to encourage battery recycling. The street lamp is powered by the residual energy left in spent batteries, establishing an immediate visual connection with the act of recycling. Simply deposit your dead batteries in the cylindrical storage compartment and their energy is pooled to power a luminescent LED halo.

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Disposable alkaline batteries present a particularly charged environmental conundrum. Manufactured metaphors for a consumer culture gone awry, their hazardous composition and single-use life cycles reap grave environmental repercussions if they are simply tossed in the trash. Their composition includes heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, and nickel, all of which can seep out and contaminate the earth unless they are properly disposed.

The Energy Seed encourages battery recycling while making use of the minute levels of energy left in “dead” battery cells. The functional street lamp consists of a ring of LEDs stemming from a cylindrical battery storage compartment. The lamp’s base features slots for almost every size battery and once deposited each cell’s energy is pooled to power the energy-efficient light. Once the compartment has been filled to capacity the batteries can be easily collected and recycled.

+ Sung Woo Park

Via Yanko Design