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July 27, 2010 > Blacow Elementary earns for recycling

Blacow Elementary earns for recycling

By Rajeswari Ramanathan

"We'd see kids throwing out their Capri Sun pouches after every class party," recalls Blacow Elementary Booster Club President, Emily Swanson. "It was such a shame to see so much waste."

It did not stop with just Capri Sun pouches; paper and food waste desecrated the school with waste. Collecting ideas on solutions to the problem, the school now earns money from students' litter. Blacow Elementary recently joined with a nationwide "Brigade" program operated by TerraCycle, a recycling company.

TerraCycle accepts waste materials and recycles them to form new products. The company pays about two cents for each acceptable wrapper or bag collected. For example, for an empty Lays chips bag, the school receives two cents. Brigades are basic areas that collect and pay for the donated items.

Officially founded in the fall of 2001 by college student Tom Szaky, TerraCycle has grown to create various products ranging from Capri-Sun rectangular lunch boxes to a circuit board clipboard. This merchandise is sold to leading corporations such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Home Depot. Instead of going into a landfill and increasing carbon emissions, waste is turned into something useful.

At Blacow Elementary, collection is monitored by the Bobcat Boosters Club and students, who have already collected 5,000 drink pouches. Money raised will help underprivileged students and the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) for educational events. During this time of budget cuts and pink slips, students are working hard to earn money for their school.

Instead of using another method to raise funds for the school, teachers and the Boosters Club decided to use something that would teach students about recycling, environmental safety, and humanitarian services. Students learn about recycling, participate in a humanitarian venture and earn funds for their school. TerraCycle has proven to address these needs and school administrators hope to continue the program.

The best part is that students see everything happen right in front of them. "That's why the kids love this program - they SEE results!" says Swanson.

Local non-profit organizations or schools who would like to partner with TerraCycle should visit for more information.

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