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Cashing in on trash

For the remainder of April, in honor of Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, products made by TerraCycle will appear in Wal-mart alongside products made by participating companies.

For example, tote bags made by Frito lays will be displayed with the chips, and backpacks made out of Capri Sun containers will be sold along the original drinks.

"I love the fact that you've set up an extremely convenient system, choice of product and prepaid shipping, that allows us to implement extra recycling as easy as can be. For this year, our go green committee is organizing the collection and the shipping. The money earned will go fund the go green committee, helping in teaching the kids how to pay attention to their actions toward the environment and nature, bringing inspiration and helping them get closer to nature," said Marine de Longeaux chairwoman of the go-green committee.

Susan Sheppeck, chairwoman of the Parent Teacher Association's communications committee at Southgate Elementary School, said the PTA is working on a number of initiatives designed to increase environmentally friendly practices.

"The Go Green committee works with the school to try to reduce our output," she said.

Sheppeck said the program was successful in large part to the hard work of de Longeaux, as well as the students who participated.

Bins have been set up in the lunchroom so students know where to put the wrappers.

"The kids really got on board," Sheppeck said.

The school even worked a competition into the mix, asking kids in each grade to see how much they can reduce their waste over time and beat other grades.

Students are encouraged to reuse bottles, bring in plastic containers instead of plastic or paper bags and use thermoses instead of disposable water bottles as well.

"Recycling is a good habit for everyone to get into," Sheppeck said.

Other programs the PTA sponsors are recycling electronics and a paperless initiative, where e-mail is used whenever possible.

If a paper reminders need to go out, it only goes to one student if there are multiple in the family.

The PTA also hosted a magic show in January performed by Tim Wenk in order to show garbage "doesn't just evaporate" magically.

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