Editor, Times-Union:
Plastic caps, often a nuisance in the recycling business, got a chance to take a different path this winter. Across Warsaw, school children and adults were collecting caps – sometimes before the end product was even ready to be recycled.
Six area schools participated in a special collection with the KC Recycling Depot. School children saved caps all winter long, soda bottle caps, yoghurt lids and other plastic caps. Each school started out with a goal to: collect 400 pounds of caps and pay $200; this would secure their school a recycled content bench made out of the caps themselves. The collecting was contagious and all participating schools met this goal.
Participating schools and their poundage were: Sacred Heart – 1868, Madison – 902, Eisenhower – 875, Lincoln – 431, Claypool – 447 and Gateway Education – 671 for a whopping total of 5,194 pounds of caps diverted from the landfill.
There was a lot of community support for this project.  Schools helped each other make their cap goals. Representative Rebecca Kubacki donated the price of a bench to each participating school, and Metzger Trucking helped by driving the caps down to Green Tree Plastics in Evansville. Mike Metzger also helped personally deliver each bench to every school. And don’t forget all the people in the community who saved their plastic caps all winter.
It was exciting to watch the community band together. A criterion for the project was that the collection had to be kid driven.  Kids needed to bring the caps to the school and be involved in the sorting process.
I posed this question to kids – what is better, a cap spending a lifetime in the landfill or 100 years on your playground? Thus far, thanks to Green Tree Plastics and school children across the Midwest, over 26 million caps have been kept out of the landfills (that is 292,800 pounds worth of caps). Small caps plus small kids equals a big difference!
Shelly Heckert
Educator
KC Recycling Depot
Warsaw, via email