Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We Recycle (More) At School. Do You?

There are definitely things in my life that I'm passionate about.  Doing the right thing for the wee ones is paramount, and in my mind that includes things from eating as healthfully as we can to teaching them to give back to being mindful of the waste we create.  Today, I'm working on a #BagItForward project with Elmer's that combines two of those three passions, and I'm thrilled.

Elmer's has the first glue stick and bottle recycling program in conjunction with WalMart.  The special plastics used in creating glue bottles and glue sticks can't be recycled at just any location, so this partnership ensures that they are appropriately turned into new products.  I love that as part of this project, schools will receive $0.02 per for every glue bottle and glue stick from Terracycle so long as the donation is of at least 250 bottles or glue sticks.  I love "fundraisers" that don't cost parents anything!

Before I can start counting the pennies from the donation, I need to create my donation box.  My first step was to go shopping for my #BagItForward Glue Crew project at WalMart.  I love going through the craft and school supply aisle on a regular basis, but I'm still always surprised by the fun new products I find.  Did you know that Elmer's now makes glitter glue in easy to dispense bottles.  I found it in red, blue, yellow, and green.  I can only imagine what I would have done with this as a child!

#BagItForward Glue Crew shop at Walmart

I'm sort of sad that with the school year now underway, the giant back to school section has been replaced by fall products because I love back to school shopping, but I'm happy to report that the products are still there.  Well, they were.  Once I bought out the entire stock of glue sticks to donate to our art classroom, the section looked a little more empty.

Poor moms on a last minute hunt for glue will find an empty WalMart shelf

Once I arrived back home, I started to put together my Glue Crew donation box for the Bag It Forward project.  I had decided to put the collection bin into the art room at the wee ones' school because the specials are so often ignored, and I know our art teacher goes through glue!  Plus, since this project includes making a donation to the classroom, how perfect to get something extra for her when she rarely gets anything from parents?  She was thrilled when I told her about the opportunity.

As I sat sitting with an empty box and some art supplies in front of me, I began to regret my decision a little.  I'm not an artist.  On the Glue Crew website, they provide a ton of information on how to set up a donation project from templates to help you to examples of other schools' donation boxes.  That's when I was officially intimidated because there is truly some awesomeness out there.  I can only imagine what other awesomeness is already out there on the Bag It Forward Pinterest board, too.  After sitting in fear for a little while, I remembered that this is about doing good and not about making sure that this is the best looking box ever created.  I gathered my materials and got started.

Templates and Elmer's products and a donation for my Glue Crew project

I decided to go a classic route, since I am someone who loves things that are simple and still beautiful.  The box I created has the relevant information so the students know what it is, and it incorporates the recycling color of green.  I love that I left the top of the donation box open so that kids can see how much glue they've recycled so far.

Simple recycling box creation

The students at our school haven't heard of the Elmer's Glue Crew project before, so it was important that I also include some educational information for them, as well.  Why should they recycle?  And how does this project work?  They need to know that this is for Elmer's glue sticks and glue bottles only, although there are plenty of other things that can and should be recycled elsewhere.  I also made sure they understand that the glue sticks and bottles that go into the donation box need to be clean.  As easy as I discovered this is to do with just a little warm water, I don't want to be the one responsible for cleaning out all of them come April when I bring them into WalMart to be recycled!

I decided that the Elmer's tri fold display board I purchased was the perfect vehicle to communicate this.  Instead of just putting the instructions, I included some recycling information that I hope will encourage them to recycle at home and school.  So what do you think of the fun board?  And yes, that is one of my empties that I glued as an example.  I'll be sure to include it in the bin when I take it for recycling though!

#BagItForward recycling facts

Now that I completed my donation box, it was time to bring it into the school and show the art teacher and students.  One additional benefit to having the open top of the box is that I can put my trifold inside it, along with the items I purchased to donate to her classroom.  Between crayons, colored pencils, markers, and tons of Elmer's glue, she has quality school supplies for her art room to last for at least a few weeks, right?

Glue Crew donation ready to go!

When I showed up in the classroom, the art teacher beamed.  She knew the box was coming and that I was going to bring her "something," but she had no idea it was going to be a box full of fun stuff for her.  As we chatted, she shared how grateful she was for the Elmer's donation bin.  She hates not being able to recycle them so never throws them away.  She showed me in her classroom where she has a cache of empty glue bottles just waiting for her to discover a way to reuse them.  This is just the glue bottles she has sitting awaiting storage until she can find a use for them.  There is a whole cabinet in her room filled with them.  You can only imagine how thrilled she is that we'll now recycle them.

Our art teacher's partial stash of Elmer's glue bottles awaiting recycling

She placed the bin prominently on a shelf where the students enter her classroom with the display above it so that students know exactly what to do.  As for me, I'm excited to check on it every once in awhile and determine how full our box is getting.  I have a feeling I'm going to have to stock up on more empty boxes to store all the recyclable empty Elmer's glue sticks and bottles I receive before I can start bringing them to WalMart in April!  This is how I love to make a teacher's day, and Elmer's is a huge part of that with the Bag It Forward campaign.

The Glue Crew is officially part of the wee ones' school

Elmer's is doing more than just the Glue Crew project to recycle glue sticks and bottles.  They have also launched the Elmer's 1st Day app for smart phones and tablets.  It's easy to download and sign up, and once you do, you can use it to capture the school year from both the teacher and the parent perspective.  You can easily take photos and share them securely with just who you choose via the app, rather than having photos of your children more easily accessible online.

It's easy to tag children so you can organize the photos by child.  Each photo is easily captioned so you remember exactly what was happening in the moment.  That's always my failing.  You don't want to know how many years it's been since I've printed photos.  At least with captions I have a chance - you know this is why I blog, right?  I love that the app also sorts photos by date so you can find them, as long as you remember around when you took the photo.

Photo of Little Miss with a caption for the 1st Day app

Oh, and did I almost forget to mention?  Elmer's donates one product to the Kids In Need Foundation for every photo that is uploaded using the 1st Day app up to 200,000 products.  Kids In Need distributes free school supplies to students whose parents can't afford them.  So far, Elmer's has donated well over 26,000 products.  How awesome is that?

For every photo uploaded, Elmer's 1st Day app provides a donation to Kids In Need

You know, it's easy to get involved in giving back with this #BagItForward opportunity.  You can download the 1st Day app and upload photos to help Elmer's get to the 200,000 donation level.  And does your school participate in the Glue Crew?  I love that this was so easy to do - and wow was the school receptive!  The more we can get kids involved in helping out, the better off we'll all be.  What can you do to get involved?

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the Collective Bias(tm) Social Fabric(r) Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias(tm) and Elmer's, and all opinions remain my own.  #CBias #SocialFabric #BagItForward


  1. Great job!! I love that you were so thoughtful with your donation as well as how much you care about recycling. :) I love your bin!

  2. What fortune that your teacher was saving her glue containers and in need of a recycling source! Such a thoughtful donation! No surprise your lucky recipient was beaming! Love the glue graphics on your bin :) Thank you so much for sharing your experience!


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