Wal-Mart Awards More Than $105,000 to Arkansas Schools in Honor of Students' Efforts to Recycle

Company’s plastic bag recycling program encourages elementary students to help remove nearly 156 tons of plastic from the state’s waste stream

MANSFIELD, Ark., May 9 2007 – Through its Kids Recycling Challenge program, Wal-Mart today announced it is awarding $105,225 to 306 Arkansas schools for students’ efforts to become responsible stewards of their environment. The company’s Kids Recycling Challenge effort is the largest plastic bag recycling program of its kind ever undertaken.

From last September through March, elementary school students in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming were encouraged to bring plastic retail and grocery bags to their schools for recycling. For each 60-gallon collection bag filled with plastic bags and brought to a local Wal-Mart store, the school was awarded $5.00 from Wal-Mart.

Schools were grouped into geographic regions, and competed against other elementary schools in their region. The ten schools in each region that brought in the most collection bags received additional cash grants from Wal-Mart: $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place, $1,000 for third place, and $250 each for fourth through tenth places.

Additionally, the top school in each region will be rewarded with an entertaining and educational school-wide assembly performance, courtesy of Wal-Mart.

Arkansas was designated as one region, with schools across the state competing against each other.

“As an active leader in the local communities that our stores serve, Wal-Mart is committed to improving the environment, increasing awareness about recycling, and helping our schools get much-needed funding,” said Christy Bridges, manager of the Wal-Mart store in Greenwood, Ark. “It was a thrill to see the principals, teachers, and parent volunteers come into the store with their cartloads of bags, and we were all surprised to see just how quickly they added up. Many schools have asked us if they can continue bringing in bags even though the current program is over. They have become so accustomed to recycling that earning money for the bags has almost become secondary.” 

Arkansas region results
Collectively, 306 elementary schools in Arkansas participated in the program, filling a total of 19,495 collection bags – weighing 311,920 pounds – and earning $105,225 in the process.

Mansfield Elementary in Mansfield topped all participating Arkansas schools by filling 869 60-gallon collection bags (totaling 13,904 pounds). In addition to earning $5.00 per bag, and the $3,000 first place prize, the students of Mansfield Elementary will also be rewarded with entertaining assemblies focusing on the environment, courtesy of Wal-Mart. The assemblies will take place today at 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Prior to each assembly, a representative from Wal-Mart will present a check for $7,345 to the hard-working students.

“When our PTO president, Annie Peterson, approached me with the Wal-Mart Kids Recycling Challenge, I was eager to have our little school of 375 students participate,” said Kathy Goff, Principal of Mansfield Elementary.  “I thought we would never be a true competitor against the larger schools in our area, but would be able to at least say we had done our part to reduce the amount of plastic sent to the landfill. As the students and parents started bringing in the bags, I was amazed at the numbers! I was totally surprised that we had collected enough bags to be first in the state, much less to be second in the nation! The money we receive will help us make our playground safer for our students. We plan to increase the amount of curbing and ground cover under our playground equipment and we will also purchase additional equipment to improve our playground for the students.”

Other top schools in the state include Cook Elementary in Fort Smith (second place with 555 collection bags), and Shirley Elementary in Shirley (third place with 492 collection bags). In addition to receiving $5.00 per collection bag, these schools will be awarded additional cash grants from Wal-Mart in the amounts of $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.

Rounding out the top ten schools, the big winners in the Arkansas region also include: 

All told, nearly 2,800 schools in 12 states filled more than 131,000 60-gallon collection bags from September 2006 through March 2007, and earned more than $830,000 from Wal-Mart.

A history of success
The Kids Recycling Challenge debuted in February 2005 in Sacramento, Palm Springs, and Salt Lake City, and has since expanded to Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Since its inception, nearly 2,800 schools have enrolled in the program, representing more than one million students. Participating schools have recycled 1,400 tons of plastic bags and have collected nearly $1.2 million from Wal-Mart.

The next Kids Recycling Challenge will run from Fall 2007 through Spring 2008 in the same states. Interested schools are invited to visit www.kidsrecyclingchallenge.com to learn more and to enroll.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.

EDITORS’ NOTES
•    Assembly photos can be found at www.walmartfacts.com.
•    Complete final results of the Kids Recycling Challenge and additional program information can be found at www.kidsrecyclingchallenge.com/media.html.
•    Wal-Mart information online: www.walmartfacts.com; merchandise sales: www.walmart.com.

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