Home News Innovative Partnership Helps Students Turn Trash Into Cash

Innovative Partnership Helps Students Turn Trash Into Cash

Wal-Mart plastic bag recycling program reduces waste and
earns over $28,000 for participating elementary schools

Bentonville, Ark., May 23, 2005 – Wal-Mart’s Kids Recycling Challenge, a pilot program partnership between Wal-Mart and elementary schools, has helped students become responsible stewards of their environment while earning money for their schools at the same time.

For the past six months, students in grades K-6 in Palm Desert (Calif.), Sacramento (Calif.), and Salt Lake City (Utah) were encouraged to bring plastic retail and grocery bags to their schools for recycling. For each 60-gallon collection bag the school filled with the plastic bags and brought to a local Wal-Mart store, the school was awarded $5.00.

Participating schools filled a total of 1,947 collection bags – 116,820 gallons all told – and earned $9,735 in the process. The three schools in each region to recycle the most bags were also awarded first-, second- and third-place cash grants from Wal-Mart in the amounts of $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000, respectively.

Further, the first-place schools in each region – Bubbling Wells Elementary in Palm Desert (173 collection bags), Carl Sandburg Elementary in Salt Lake (310 collection bags), and Harmon Johnson Elementary in Sacramento (61 collection bags) – will be rewarded with an entertaining school-wide assembly focusing on the environment, courtesy of Wal-Mart. 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.

"The Wal-Mart Kids Recycling Challenge was a great opportunity for us to teach our students the importance of recycling and how easy it can be," said Ken Kolster, Principal of Harmon Johnson Elementary School. “In addition, the money we receive from Wal-Mart will help support a worthwhile cause. Our student council has become intrigued with Heifer International, a program which purchases animals for families in underdeveloped countries to use for their sustenance. We plan to use a portion of our winnings to purchase a goat, a sheep, and a trio of rabbits for three different families.”

“As an active leader in the local communities that our stores serve, Wal-Mart is committed to improving the environment, reducing landfill waste, and helping our schools get much-needed funding,” said Betsy Reithemeyer, vice president of corporate affairs for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.  “In addition to the immediate benefits to the environment and our schools, the Kids Recycling Challenge has also taught students about the importance of recycling, and that is a lesson that they will carry with them their entire lives.”

To help teachers educate students on the benefits of recycling, the American Plastics Council (APC) developed interactive lesson plans and made them available for download on www.teachingplastics.org.

“The APC applauds Wal-Mart on this creative effort to promote the recycling of plastic bags and as an innovative way to earn much needed funding for their schools, said Tim Shestek, APC’s western regional director of state and local public affairs. “With our long history and technical expertise in the area of plastic collection, recovery and recycling, APC was honored to have its educational curriculum included in this program so that teachers and students could learn more about environmental benefits of recycling plastics."

The Kids Recycling Challenge is not the only plastic bag recycling-related undertaking for Wal-Mart. Customers will also find recycling bins in the front of all Wal-Mart stores where they can bring their plastic bags the next time they shop.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States. Internationally, the company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The company’s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com. Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.

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