HOW TO SUPPORT A SUSTAINABLE YOUTH PROJECT:
Recycle Plastic to Make Elkhart County 4-H Fair Benches
by Michael Telschow
My wife is part of the Elkhart County Master Gardener’s Club. She recently started collecting our plastic bottle caps and lids for recycling. I was curious and asked why she was doing this, as these particular plastics were not the ones we usually recycle. She informed me that she was helping to save them to give to 4-H youth to make totally 100% recycled plastic benches for the Elkhart County Fairgrounds.
What has to be done to reach their goal?
If the Elkhart County youth 4-H Clubs collect 50 pounds or more they can have their club’s name on the bench along with other clubs that have also collected 50 pounds. If the youth of the 4-H club collect at least 400 pounds of clean caps and lids they could have their club’s name on their own bench. Then all the recycled material will be transported to Green Tree Plastics, Inc. in Evansville to be made into benches.
How can others get involved?
There have been requests by other groups and organizations to get involved in the program. The Green Committee is asking these groups to have youth help in the collecting, sorting, and cleaning of the plastic caps and lids as well. So this year the 4-H Club is continuing to collect and work toward new benches. They are also allowing other groups to participate. They must collect 400 pounds and provide the sponsorship money of $275.00 for the bench. The collection of the caps and lids for the 100% recycled benches must be done by youth. They must also be involved in the cleaning and sorting of the plastics.
Types of caps that are acceptable for the
Bottle Caps to Benches Project
CAPS: SORTED, WASHED, CLEAN AND DRY
- Medicine Bottle Caps minus cardboard inserts & Medicine Bottles (2,4,5 with label removed)
- Flip-top caps (ie: Ketchup, Mustard, Creamer tops)
- Drink Bottle Caps
- Milk Jug Caps
- Detergent Caps
- Hair Spray Caps
- Spout caps (i.e.: Mustard tops)
- Spray Paint Caps
- Toothpaste Tube Caps
- Ointment Tube Caps
- Deodorant Caps
LIDS: SORTED, WASHED AND CLEAN
- Cottage Cheese Container Lids
- Cool Whip Container Lids
- Mayonnaise Jar Lids
- Coffee Can Lids
- Yogurt Lids
- Cream Cheese Container Lids
- Peanut Butter Container Lids
- Butter Container Lids
- Ice Cream Bucket Lids
- Metal Of Any Kind with the plastic
- Soap Pumps, Lotion Pumps and Trigger Sprayers
- Fast Food Drink Lids or Coffee Lids or #1
- Unclean lids & caps
With all of the acceptable caps listed above, they are looking for a recycle number of 2, 4, or 5. They will also take medicine and vitamin bottles (all paper taken off bottle) if they have a recycle number of 2, 4, or 5.
What is the deadline for this 2016 project?
The caps and lids from all groups need to be to the Green Committee by June 1st, sooner would be better for this year’s fair. This will allow time to for the committee and groups of youth to help check, sort, and weigh the caps and also allow them to transport and deliver the benches in time for the fair.
For more information, or if you have questions or would like to get involved in the program, please feel free to contact the Green Committee Chairperson, Jan Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact Jan for the drop off of the caps, please do not just leave them at the fairgrounds or the Extension Office.
Interested in what kind of container you use to collect to help discourage trash also
We repurpose 5-gallon plastic buckets that faculty would normally throw out or recycle.