STAMFORD, Conn. Students across the U.S. took the phrase “renew, reuse, recycle” to a new and different level by participating in Students for Recycling, a national school-based plastic (PET) recycling program that turns plastic bottles into backpacks for kids.
The two-month long program, part of the Keep America Beautiful’s Great American Cleanup, asked students across the country to collect plastic bottles from Mar. 1 to May 31 of this year, to divert plastic from the country’s waste stream. Although the goal of the program was to collect 45 million bottles, the goal was exceeded as students collected 70.6 million.
In collaboration with Aquafina and Sam’s Club, Keep America Beautiful, dubbed the nation’s largest community improvement program, encouraged students across the country to participate Backpacks made from recycled PET will be donated to students who are making a difference in their communities.
“Students for Recycling has been a fun way to raise awareness for an important cause while allowing us to give back to the communities who are dedicated to making a difference,” said Mario Palomino, senior national account manager, Pepsi-Cola North America, makers of Aquafina.
Sam’s Club and Aquafina worked with Keep America Beautiful to build awareness of the program with in-store signage that featured a message about recycling. Keep America Beautiful affiliates worked with their local Sam’s Club to conduct the program, and event sponsor Waste Management weighed, transported and recycled the bottles.
Additionally, Sam’s Club awarded $50,000 total in the form of $1,000 Sam’s Club Gift Cards to each of the 50 top-collecting schools.
“The Students for Recycling program with Sam’s Club and Aquafina is testament to the collective power of Keep America Beautiful volunteers,” said Keep America Beautiful president G. Raymond Empson. “By providing backpacks made out of recycled PET, our sponsors provided a ‘teachable moment’ for students, demonstrating how recycled raw materials are turned into new and useful products.”