The Green Schools Initiative awards prizes to schools for completing recycling-related activities. Schools, in the past, have used prize money for environmental initiatives as well as school-related activities. Participants have used prize money for pollinator gardens, recycling/composting bins, field trips and playground materials. Some schools covered the cost of transportation for clubs, water fountains, and classroom materials. The Elkhart County Solid Waste website also hosts a list of suggested prize money uses.
One school had the innovative idea of using the prize money to increase their contributions to sustainability. Concord Intermediate School has collected hundreds of pounds of plastic bottle caps and lids over the years. They then send these plastic bottle caps and lids to be recycled into plastic benches. It takes 200 pounds of plastic caps and $250 to manufacture one bench.
Concord Intermediate sends its collected materials to Green Tree Plastics in Evansville, Indiana. Concord Intermediate partnered with The Dunlap Lions Club to help with the early cost of benches, and now uses their Green Schools Initiative prize money to pay for the benches. Troyer Food Club has also helped with the transportation of the recyclables and the benches to and from Evansville.
The benches will help create recreational spaces for students, reduce the number of plastics sent to the landfill, and support an Indiana company. This recycling initiative also provides a tangible opportunity for students to participate in waste reduction and conserve resources.
We celebrate all Concord Intermediate has done and encourage other organizations to be bold with their ideas for change.