Students turn trash into treasures

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Chamisa Elementary School students learn the power of numbers

By Special to the Monitor

The teachers at Chamisa Elementary School used to see a lot of drink pouches get thrown away.
Once they signed up to recycle them through a company called TerraCycle, the school began earning two cents for every one of those pouches and became part of a nationwide effort that has just reached an impressive milestone of keeping 50 million pouches out of landfills.
In addition, TerraCycle, which makes affordable, eco-friendly products from packaging waste, and Capri Sun have paid $1 million to schools and non-profits in return for the recycled drink pouches.  
In more visual terms, 50 million drink pouches are the weight of 20 school buses or, if laid side by side, would cover 480 football fields or cover the Grand Canyon nine times. Instead of going to the landfill, those pouches are now reborn as tote bags, backpacks, lunch boxes and more.
“I always thought it was such a waste to use these pouches and then dispose of them. The school grounds were also littered with juice pouches, so the principal was so thrilled to see that we were going to start recycling them,” said Cathy Cleland, who signed the school up for the program. “What I like best about the program is involving the kids in the recycling of products they use every day and creating awareness that we can all work together as a team to keep our world clean.”
The school is part of the Capri Sun Drink Pouch Brigade, a free program that pays schools and non-profits to collect non-recyclable waste that would otherwise go to a landfill.
The program is beneficial because kids and adults are educated about recycling and resource conservation and are inspired to make a difference in their own community. Also, much needed funding is provided to schools and charities and millions of pieces of packaging are saved from landfills every week.
More than 70,000 schools and community groups around the country have signed up to help collect almost 30 different kinds of products and packaging TerraCycle accepts. The participating organizations will collectively earn over $2 million this year.
For more information or to sign up, visit www.