Trashing Batteries for Brighter Sidewalks

We all know alkaline batteries are really bad for the environment if you don’t dispose of them properly. The right thing to do is send them to special recycling centers but hundreds of tons end up in landfills where their toxic innards seep into the earth. Perhaps a good solution is the Energy Seed, an LED lamp post powered by trashed alkaline batteries.

The idea is to encourage people to throw their batteries away into the Energy Seed. There’s a slot for nearly every size battery. The unit combines any left over juice from all the batteries to power a super efficient LED ring.

Of course once the bins are full, we’re left with the same original problem. Somebody has to collect all those spent batteries and recycle them. 

Designer: Sungwoo Park & Sunhee Kim


  • Austin says:

    the design is innovative, even if not particularly useful. I am very impressed by the informative and clean aesthetic of the posters and accompanying information. nice job

    • kish says:

      woww…i love the idea of these “energy seed lamps” i suggest you go onto the dragons den or american inventor.

  • momo23 says:

    Funny, i don’t understand how the batteries when dropped into the recycle bin is able to power up the LED.

    • Christine Chung says:

      It may need the direction indicator for the batteries drop box for it to be correctly positioned in the box.

  • greenback says:

    I think it would be better in a home application as a lamp for ambient light. We’ve acquired similar gadgets to drain the remaining power from batteries that were no longer functional in toys, cameras, etc. but none that look so cool.

    Please sell it to the private consumer. I’ll take two! Especially if they are dimmable.

  • tirka says:

    the concept is great!
    the recycle-system of batteries should be considered.

  • zzz says:

    if it rains what will happen

  • shamoononon says:

    I want one, I have a lot of old batteries sitting around in drawers because i haven’t the heart to toss them.

    One question, why just AA sized batteries? Surely that thing can be modified to use all sorts of sizes and volts.

  • Lite says:

    I can see someone tossing their cigarette butts into the thing. Old pens, chewing gum, drinking straws, used hypodermic needles…

    • Joey Ramone says:

      I agree, if these lovely lights were installed on my street, there would be all sorts put into the battery holes. I’m sure many other places are just the same, people are the same all around the world… Plus what happens if the batteries are inserted wrong way up? For these reasons, I think this would be much better in its current design as a living room lamp. Lovely idea though. Maybe they can use it in a place where everyone is very sweet and well-behaved… NOT Sheffield then! 😀

      • Bosf says:

        Its not necessary…something that will try if that thing supplies energy to the lamp…if not then throw it to some other additional bin.and KICK THEM TO THE BUTT! 😀

  • Substance_D says:

    I don’t understand how the electrical conductors are making contact with the batteries?

  • up2l8 says:

    Doesn’t best buy have a battery recycling program? My work does and I just chuck them there.

  • RE-L says:

    Very nice idea, and the way you took it further is even better!

  • Where can you get these from in Australia? I would love one…..

  • Carl says:

    there is still no real incentive to go out of your way to do this. whereas trading them at a petrol station or supermatket for a token or green voucher would intenise people to do this.

    micky mouse street lights serve no purpose and would be very costly to build and maintain.

    what we see here is an ‘ideal world’ solution with no regards to costs or vandalism or maintenance.

  • innowation says:

    I like the design but I am wondering like others how you
    connect it together.

    I had the idea some years ago and used recycled Bat as an
    LED Garden light,which worked over weeks.

    I am encouraged now to start new in this direction.

    Thank you and

  • EDUARDO ARCE says:

    Where can buy the lamp?

  • Tove says:

    price? how to get the Energy Seed Lamp?

  • andrewmd says:

    somebody made pretty much the same thing for home use
    check it out:
    looks like a good project for a rainy day

  • John says:

    Note that many areas do not consider alkaline batteries to contain hazardous materials.

    Here is one such example:

    Quote: “Regular alkaline batteries and dead lithium batteries are not considered hazardous. They may be safely discarded as trash.”

    Here is another great fact sheet I found about this topic:

    Before anything like this could really take off you fist need to get more states on board in declaring them as a mandatory recyclable item.

  • Pirate88179 says:

    Actually, if you use a Joule Thief circuit, you can light many leds from a “dead” AA battery. I have been able to light 400 of them from one dead AA battery. For more information, see our Joule Thief topic over at You can see this on my youtube videos.


  • TheEloquentMime says:

    pure awesomeness

  • the article said that this device doesn’t solve the original problem- that batteries have to go somewhere after they’re completely dead.

    But since the electronics necessary to connect a battery to an LED are smaller than the LED, and the cylinder looks several feet tall, I’m thinking it’s supposed to be the receptacle as well, which seems like a great idea. If batteries are pressed in sideways (so both ends make contact), and they slowly slide down a shoot over the course of a day or so, and end in a holding bin, that would be great!

    Too bad they don’t explain in more detail how it works. And too bad Americans tend to trash their public spaces…

  • tuba says:

    where can i buy this product? i wanna buy it
    thats so amazing..

  • yvette says:

    awesome idea.

  • wolfan says:

    Uhm, and what does this designer propose will happen to the batteries in the canister when they are fully drained and the led light needs more batteries.

    Also when's the last time you used a battery in something? Before posting I took a look around my house for battery powered devices, and I found three something “private”, my wall clock and my remote.

  • Anonymous says:

    Interesting idea, however I don't think that LEDs will produce enough lumens to actually light an area very well.

  • Adie says:

    That is genius. Definitely something the government should look into.

  • J says:

    Why don’t they add a recycling bin at the bottom?

  • Dave Chilton says:

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  • Tempest says:

    Why don’t you relax.

  • Unknownable says:

    One way to get even more energy out of the batteries is to use what is nicknamed “Joule Thief” – it’s a circuit that is a self-oscillating voltage booster, that is low cost and easy to build – here is the Wikipedia article on it…. for ideas and instructions on how to build it and use it just Google it.

  • Nice Idea. This should be Implement in Real.
    really good designed.

  • Nice concept and great execution.

  • JaiGuru says:

    Okay…You are making the same mistake all these other “future tech” designers make…that is the design of the lamp is so “futurey”. It’s disgusting. I would never have this eye sore in my house.

    It’s the number one reason electric cars sell like shit after their high sticker prices. All the designers try to make them look like jettson spaceships of the future instead of, you know, cars.

    Fix the way this looks and I’d probably be down to purchase this.

  • Richard says:

    I think this idea would be cool for the home. I would love something like this that you could put alkaline bats in and then have a charge center for your rechargeable batteries.

  • jada says:

    Omg this is so amazing I want this on my street and I am only 11. Pink would be a good color for it if it was in my room.

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