Fundraisers are typically done to do just that — raise funds — but two Eugene Burroughs Middle School students are hoping their school’s fundraiser will also raise awareness about the importance of recycling.
Seventh-grader Diamond Lacy, 13, and her 12-year-old sister, Crystal Lacy, who is in the sixth grade, said they decided to begin a campaign to collect and recycle used Capri Sun juice pouches after seeing a program for doing so advertised on the back of the drink’s packaging. TerraCycle, a New Jersey-based organization that makes everyday products out of recycled materials, gives 2 cents for every juice pouch donated and in turn uses the pouches to create useful school items, such as book bags and pencil cases.
“The trash that we collect is made into backpacks, tote bags, pencil cases and other products. That's upcycling, because you can see what the material was originally,” said Megan Yarnall, a TerraCycle spokeswoman. “We also recycle some of the collected material, and it is made into plastic products like plant caddies and watering cans.”
The effort caught the attention of the Lacy sisters, who decided last week to create the program
“We wanted to do this because it is recycling. It helps the planet and it saves energy,” Diamond said. “We hope this is a way to get everyone to recycle.”
. The girls are now building and decorating several collection boxes to sit in the cafeterias of Accokeek Academy, which consists of Burroughs Middle School and Henry G. Ferguson Elementary School.
The two girls are also placing a collection bin in their church, Victory Church in Accokeek, since they said the church hosts several youth group and child care sessions where children drink from Capri Sun pouches.
Ray Lacy, Diamond and Crystal’s father, said he is excited his daughters initiated such a goal for the school and the community.
“I’m proud that they’re applying what they’ve learned in school and are now spreading the importance of recycling. “The teachers taught them how to recycle; it’s something that they’ve learned. Now they can give back to the environment.”
Stacey Krauss, a TerraCycle spokeswoman, said there are roughly 160 teams in Prince George’s County, most of which are at county schools and each TerraCycle collection program varies from collecting items such as drink pouches to chip bags to cleaner packaging. Krauss said the teams in total have kept 250,000 pieces of waste out of area landfills to earn a total of $5,000.
Crystal said her and her sister have never lead a program of this kind before but are excited to have started the drink pouch collection, noting that they are also now creating posters and announcements for the school to help bring in larger amounts of empty juice pouches.
“It’s exciting. I feel really happy that we’re doing this,” Crystal said.
Diamond said they will continue to collect the Capri Sun pouches throughout the year and into next year, and will send in the collected pouches to TerraCycle each time they collect 1,001 pouches, the amount TerraCycle requests for each donation, which would give the school about $20.
Once collected, Diamond said students can go to www.terracycleshop.com to view and purchase products that were made from the donated Capri Sun pouches.
“I hope this tells others that they can start their own recycling programs,” she said.