I've got a local angle for this blog post. The grade school that my kids attended — Mater Dei Academy in Wickliffe, Ohio — is featured in a national TV commercial for its plastic recycling efforts.
MDA students recently collected almost 300 pounds of polypropylene bottle caps and lids, marked with recycling code 5, for a recycling program sponsored by carmaker Subaru and by Terracycle, a recycling firm based in Trenton, N.J.
For their efforts, students are receiving a Buddy Bench, which is a bench for kids who are looking for someone to play with. It will be dedicated at the school on May 3. The bench is made from recycled plastics. A tree planting also will be part of the ceremony.
Another local grade school, Our Lady of the Lake in Euclid, Ohio, also had a recycling drive and will receive a similar bench.
The 30-second commercial is part of the Subaru Loves the Earth campaign and includes MDA students and Principal Joanie Klemens recycling snack bags. It first aired April 19 on USA Network and on April 21 on NBC. The commercial will debut on SYFY Network on April 24 and will appear on NBC Universal-branded stations for at least six weeks.
"At our school, we teach the kids to care about the environment," Klemens says in the commercial, adding that the Buddy Bench "is teaching our kids to not only be kind to the environment, but also to each other."
MDA worked on the recycling effort after being contacted by Patty Fowler, who leads the Keep Wickliffe Beautiful community group. The program "lets the kids see that their work is going for something," Fowler said in an April 22 phone interview.
MDA used Zero Waste boxes provided by TerraCycle and Subaru for the project. The boxes encourage customers, employees and community partners to recycle items that are commonly thought of as hard-to-recycle, including snack wrappers and bags, disposable cups and lids, and coffee and tea capsules, Subaru officials said in a news release.
The collected waste streams will be turned into useful, high quality recycled products, such as park benches, picnic tables, and playground materials. More than 500 locations were involved in the campaign nationwide.
"At Subaru, we feel it's our personal responsibility to protect Earth's natural wonders and encourage our retailers and customers to engage in smart environmental practices, simply because it's the right thing to do," Subaru of America CEO Thomas Doll said.