By Nina Wu
Save your plastic bottle caps.
Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation's first Bottle Cap Collection Challenge netted 21,862 pounds of plastic bottle caps this year, and plans to hold another one in 2015. More than 50 schools, pre-school to high school, public, charter and private, participated in this year's inaugural challenge. The caps collected have been sent to California to be recycled into new products, including Method's Ocean Plastic bottle and Preserve toothbrush and razor handles.
The contest, which ran from Feb. 1 through March 31, was an initiative to collect and recycle plastic bottle caps that are normally thrown away (they don't belong in the blue bin, in case you didn't know). And if you've been to a recycling redemption center, you find out that you need to remove them before feeding the reverse-vending machines.
Mililani Mauka and Mililani ‘Ike Elementary Schools tied for most caps collected overall, while St. Elizabeth School collected most caps per capita and won a special performance by Jack Johnson.
Congratulations to all of the following schools, who placed tops in the challenge (Top 13 get a waste-free classroom celebration kit with cloth napkins, Preserve cutlery, cups, plates and Method Ocean Plastic dish and hand soap):
1st Place Elementary - St. Elizabeth School - Most Caps Per Capita
2nd Place Elementary - Soto Academy
3rd Place Elementary - Kahala Elementary School
1st Place Middle/Intermediate School - SEEQS: The School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability
2nd Place Middle/Intermediate School - Waialua Intermediate School
3rd Place Middle/Intermediate School - Niu Valley Middle School
1st Place High School - King's Christian Academy
2nd Place High School - King Kekaulike High School
3rd Place High School - Aiea High School
1st Place Pre-School - Aiea Hongwanji Mission Academy
2nd Place Pre-School - Central Union Pre-School
Some inspiring stories and photos from the schools are available on the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation blog page. Students and teachers alike shared their thoughts on the bottle cap challenge. Fifth grade students at Kahala Elementary volunteered to help unscrew caps at Honolulu Zoo. "Even recycling one bottle cap can make a difference," said one student at Niu Valley Middle School.
All proceeds from Jack Johnson's concert at Waikiki Shell on Friday, Aug. 1 during his "From Here to Now To You" Tour! will benefit the Kokua Hawai‘i Foundation. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, Saturday, May 10.