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From Bottle Caps to Benches: Small World Recycling Takes Shape

Students at Wabash Valley College’s Small World Child Development Center can now rest on benches and a picnic table made from 100 percent recycled plastics. 

WVC’s Early Childhood Education students initiated a recycling program in 2016 as part of a community-based project required in their Intro to Early Childhood Education class.  The students – together with Small World – entered into the “ABC Promise Partnership” with Green Tree Plastics in Evansville, IN.  Green Tree Plastics manufactures recycled plastic products using 100% recycled plastics, no hazardous chemicals, non-organic fillers, or non-organic color concentrates. 

The ABC Program, or “a bench for caps,” is a cap-and-lid recycling program specifically designed by schoolchildren for schoolchildren. It is to be a tool in the hands of teachers to teach children about caring for the earth and “green” living.  Through the ABC Program, Green Tree Plastics takes discarded plastics and turns them into new pieces of décor and furniture.  The plastics are minced and ground through a process called “flow molding,” where the plastics are melted down and molded into benches or picnic tables.

As part of the ABC Program, Small World students collected plastic bottle caps in containers located in six (6) locations on the WVC campus.  Since 2016, over 500 pounds of caps were collected from students, parents, and community members.  On October 1, 500 pounds of caps were delivered to Green Tree Plastics, where Small World was rewarded for their hard work and dedication in the form of one 4’ gray bench, one 8’ red bench, and one 6’ gray toddler table.  WVC’s Teachers of Youth Club provided the funds required for the manufacturing and processing of the benches and table. 

WVC Small World Director Carla Cadwalader emphasized that children will continue this earth-conscious project to increase efforts to keep their community “green.”  Plastic bottles and caps (stored separately) can be dropped off at the WVC Pool, Main Hall, or the Science Building. 




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