Public/Private partnership earns more than $100,000 for elementary schools and removes over 100 tons of plastic from the waste stream
Sacramento, Calif., Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced the statewide rollout of the Wal-Mart Kids Recycling Challenge, a private/public partnership that helps California elementary school students become responsible stewards of their environment while earning money for their schools. The Kids Recycling Challenge is the largest plastic bag recycling program of its kind ever undertaken in the state.
The announcement follows on the heels of nearly a year of success for the Kids Recycling Challenge. The program debuted in February 2005 in Sacramento, Palm Springs, and Salt Lake City, and has steadily expanded across Northern California since.
Since its inception, more than 400 schools have participated, and have already recycled over 209,000 pounds (104.5 tons) of plastic bags, earning more than $116,000 from the Wal-Mart Foundation.
To highlight the statewide program launch, an environmentally-themed school assembly and media press conference will take place today at 8:30 AM at Samuel Kennedy Elementary School, 7037 Briggs Drive, Sacramento. The assembly will be performed by EarthCapades Environmental Vaudeville (www.earthcapades.com), a San Francisco-based troupe that promotes ecological diversity and the belief that all species deserve a safe and healthy environment in which to live.
“Wal-Mart is committed to giving something back to the local communities that our stores serve and helping to protect our environment,” said John Lawrence, of the Wal-Mart Foundation. “The Kids Recycling Challenge presents enormous potential for educating our children on the importance of recycling. More than 250,000 students attend the 400 schools that have participated in the program so far, and we’re excited about the opportunity to reach even more as the program expands throughout the state.”
“Environmental stewardship is everybody’s responsibility, whether they are a public company or a private citizen,” said Rosario Marin, Chair of the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB), the State’s leading authority on recycling and waste reduction. “We applaud the Wal-Mart Foundation and our hard-working elementary schoolchildren for every ton of plastic they have prevented from ending up in landfills or as litter, and for the invaluable life lessons they have shared on the benefits of recycling. Their environmental leadership should serve as an inspiration to all Californians.”
Samuel Kennedy Elementary led all Sacramento-region schools during the just-completed Fall 2005 Challenge by turning in 160 60-gallon collection bags – more than 2,500 lbs. – and earning $2,300 for their efforts. A check will be presented to the school from Wal-Mart before today’s assembly.
“The students and staff of Samuel Kennedy Elementary are very pleased with the Wal-Mart Kids Recycling Challenge,” said Martin Martinez, Vice Principal of Samuel Kennedy Elementary. “It has been a link to our community as parents, students and neighbors have teamed up to collect and donate the bags. We have tied the program into our science education, and will use the funds to partially fund our sixth grade Science Camp trip, where students learn more about the environment and taking care of it.”
Other top schools in the region include Mary Tsukamoto Elementary in Sacramento (second place with 89 collection bags), and Anna Kirchgater Elementary in Sacramento and Carl H. Sundahl Elementary in Folsom (tied for third place with 82 collection bags each). In addition to receiving $5.00 per collection bag, these schools will receive rewards in the amounts of $1,000, $500 and $500, respectively.
How the statewide Kids Recycling Challenge works From now through April 17, 2006, students of participating elementary schools throughout California are encouraged to bring plastic retail and grocery bags to their schools for recycling. For each 60-gallon collection bag (supplied by Wal-Mart) the school fills with plastic bags and brings to a local Wal-Mart store, the school will be awarded $5.00.
Participating schools are grouped into 17 geographic regions. The three schools in each region that bring in the most collection bags will receive additional cash grants from the Wal-Mart Foundation in the amounts of $1,500, $1,000, and $500, respectively. Additionally, the top school in each region will be rewarded with an entertaining school-wide assembly focusing on the environment, courtesy of Wal-Mart.