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Pleasant Grove raises funds while helping to save the environment

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By Stephen Thomas

MOUNT WASHINGTON - Pleasant Grove Elementary students are raising school funds while acting environmentally responsible.

Students earned over $400 by recycling empty Capri Sun drink pouches and returning them to TerraCycle, an eco-friendly company that produces over 50 recyclable products.

Pleasant Grove PTO president Christy Crosley came up with the idea, seeing the TerraCycle information on the back of a Capri Sun box. The school would receive two cents for each returned pouch.

“It was a creative way to make money without having to solicit from parents,” said Crosley, who was looking for a new fundraiser that didn’t involve selling items.

Pleasant Grove has turned in a total of 20,935, receiving a total of $418.70 from TerraCycle. Crosley said funds would be implemented through the PTO to acquire school necessities.

The TerraCycle fundraising project began in the school’s cafeteria with a special container designated for the pouches.

The project soon became overwhelming, according to Crosley. Pleasant Grove Safety Patrol captain Kevin Weihe soon found some helpful volunteers.

“We let the safety patrol kids do some community service work,” said Weihe. “We’re also teaching the kids about recycling, specifically ‘upcycling’ where you make things out of recycled items.

Weihe and fellow special needs instructor Patrick Durham supervised as Safety Patrol members collected the pouches, placed them into boxes and prepared them for shipment to TerraCycle (The company even pays for the shipping labels).

“It’s a sticky and stinky job,” Weihe said.

The fundraiser allows all Pleasant Grove students to participate simply by placing their pouches in the special can. Crosley said a poster was prepared to promote the idea.

“It’s a really easy thing for students to do,” Weihe said.

“The kids are aware,” said Durham. “They see pouches in trash cans and they notice.”

Safety Patrol member Garrett Scott helped wrap packages for shipping. He is aware of how recycling helps the environment.

Scott told all of his family and friends to recycle, especially the Capri Sun pouches. He keeps an eye open in the cafeteria at all times.

“I tell them don’t throw it in that, throw it in the recycling or reuse it,” he said. “I reuse water bottles.”

Rachel Hammiel, another patrol member, said the fundraiser was fun and gave team members a way to actively participate.

Like Scott, Hammiel is aware of how the fundraiser helps both the environment and the school.

“It’s important because it helps raise money,” she said.

Weihe mentioned several students are collecting pouches at home and donating them to the school. Crosley said her children know to save them at home as well.

With the Safety Patrol in charge of the collection, Weihe said recycling plans might be expanded to further patrol brigades. Durham said the Safety Patrol was well-respected throughout the school, leading by example.

TerraCycle hosts similar recycling fundraiser programs for items such as yogurt containers, cookie wrappers and potato chip bags.

For more information on the recycling programs visit www.terracycle.net.