Oct 4 - Wal-Mart Plastic Bag Recycling Program Growing

Earlier this year, Wal-Mart announced that it would be expanding it's "Kids Recycling Challenge" in September to 12 states, including California, and now hopes to make the program available nation wide next fall. Open only to elementary schools, Wal-mart supplies participating schools with 60-gallon collection bags that students fill up with various plastic retail and grocery bags. Wal-Mart subsequently pays the school $5 for each 60-gallon bag they fill.

BENTONVILLE, Ark - Wal-Mart’s message of recycling has been extended to elementary-age students in the western U.S. and its own home state. The Wal-Mart Kids Recycling Challenge, a private/public partnership between Wal-Mart and elementary schools, will help students earn money for their schools by recycling plastic shopping and grocery bags.

The Kids Recycling Challenge debuted in February 2005 in Sacramento, Palm Springs, and Salt Lake City, and expanded across the entire state of California earlier this year. Due to its success, Wal-Mart has extended the program to 12 states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, the entire state of Utah, Washington, and Wyoming, and plans to further expand it across the country in the Fall of 2007.

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Since the start of the program in 2005 (when only available in California and Salt Lake City), elementary students have recovered 350 tons of plastic from landfills, while participating schools have earned $327,000 in the process.

Plastics bag litter continues to be a nuisance in our environment. The current signing of AB 2449 (Levine) into law by the Governor will take the first steps of reducing the problematic plastic bags by offering take backs in most retail and grocery stores. Wal-Mart has also led a charge on demanding a reduction in packaging from it's supplies.