Local entrepreneurs Alexander Galasso and Leon Smith II are in the business of helping the planet with Battery Effect, their start-up social responsibility platform.
Recycling household hazardous waste — especially batteries that are often mistakenly tossed in the trash — and raising awareness about the issue is one part of the plan, Galasso, 35, said following the company’s official launch last week.
Battery Effect also is designed to benefit small businesses in Long Beach, which serve as the drop off points for residents to bring in used batteries, with several area shops (including BYO Long Beach locations and some hardware stores) already signed on to try it out as a way to help the cause and bring in potential customers.
“We’ve designed a way to solve a problem that impacts every single one of us,” Galasso explained about the free downloadable Battery Effect mobile application that he and Smith designed so that people can find drop off sites and other information.
The concept is a longtime dream made reality for the two friends who both grew up in Long Beach and first met in Dr. Mary Brennan’s second grade class at Lowell Elementary School.
Their pride for the Long Beach community, combined with their separate skill sets, make them the right team for the job, they said, with Leon’s background in software development and Galasso’s in business and sustainability.
Galasso explained how the program works:
“You have to download our application, and the whole reason we have the app is that the city of Long Beach requires that we document who shows up to these drop-off sites because they must be city residents," he said. "You show the app to the teller at the store and then they take the batteries for you, and we organize the pickups to coincide with the city’s hazardous waste disposal schedule.”
The win-win process helps make it easier for people to turn in batteries that otherwise might wind up in the trashcan, and Galasso said it’s a great marketing tool for the businesses that participate.
“We charge a fee to the retailer because we bring people in their door, and this gives them a platform to push in-store promotions,” he said. “When a customer drops off their used batteries, they’re further incentivized to make a purchase through in-app coupons and promotions, tailored to that specific store.”
Galasso said that although residents can drop off batteries at household hazardous waste events twice a month in the city, he said that’s not nearly as convenient as being able to do it anytime at more convenient locations.
And, batteries are only the start, according to the team. The Battery Effect will, hopefully, grow into helping prevent other stuff that doesn’t belong in the trash get recycled, they said.
Galasso, who graduated this year from Cal State Long Beach and participated in the Institute for Innovation & Entrepreneurship’s programs, said he has to give a lot of credit to the university for the resources he found there that helped get the business connected with the city and off the ground.
Other SoCal cities also have been in talks with Battery Effect, and Galasso said the team still needs more local retailers who would like sign on as drop off sites.
It’s free to sign up to be a drop location this summer, and after that there are special $200 monthly locked-in rates for the first businesses that participate. Others who sign up later will pay $500 a month.
Those interested in the program should download the Battery Effect mobile application or visit TheBatteryEffect.com.