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Wal-Mart Awards More Than $40,000 to Washington Schools in Honor of Students' Efforts to Recycle

Editor's Note: The Walmart Foundation no longer operates the Kids' Recycling Challenge Program

Company’s plastic bag recycling program encourages local elementary students to help remove over 52 tons of plastic from the local waste stream


BONNEY LAKE, Wash., May 16, 2007
Through its Kids Recycling Challenge program, Wal-Mart today announced it is awarding $40,470 to 174 Washington 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.

Washington 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 Chad Smith, Manager of Wal-Mart Store #5041 in Bonney Lake. “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.

Washington region results

Collectively, 174 elementary schools in Washington participated in the program, filling a total of 6,544 collection bags – weighing 104,712 pounds – and earning $40,470 in the process.

Emerald Hills Elementary in Bonney Lake topped all participating Washington schools by filling 502 60-gallon collection bags (totaling 8,032 pounds). In addition to earning $5.00 per bag, and the $3,000 grand prize, the students of Emerald Hills Elementary will also be rewarded with an entertaining assembly focusing on the environment, courtesy of Wal-Mart. The assembly will take place today at 1:45 p.m. Prior to the assembly, a representative from Wal-Mart will present a check for $5,510 to the hard-working students.

“We decided to participate in the Wal-Mart Kids Recycling Challenge with the goal of first place and the grand prize of $3,000 to go towards our Vertical Rock Wall Fund,” said Melissa Johnson, President of Emerald Hills Elementary PTO. “Our Recycle Coordinator, Melissa Thomason, was key in motivating students to recycle plastic from home, neighbors, family, friends, and community businesses. The students, staff, and parent volunteers of Emerald Hills Elementary are so excited to win first place, and we are pleased that Wal-Mart has created a program that supports local elementary schools and encourages recycling.”

Rounding out the top ten schools, the big winners in the Washington region 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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