MASSENA -- Inspired by the back of a beverage, a Nightengale Elementary student has launched a campaign to help his school and the environment.
Mathis LeBlanc, a sixth-grader, said it all started while he was downing a CapriSun. Reading the back of the packaging, he learned he could earn money for his school and help the environment by recycling his juice pouches.
LeBlanc told his mother that he wanted to launch a school-wide recycling effort, sponsored by the juice company.
With a little help from his mom and from his sixth grade ELA teacher Mrs. Powers, Mathis created flyers asking students and staff to save their of empty pouches.
“There is a blue bin in the cafeteria – kids put their pouches in it and then my mom and I collect them, take out the straws and make sure they are flat. Once we have collected a full bin, we ship them to TerraCycle” said LeBlanc.
TerraCycle, a green company, upcycles and recycles hard-to-recycle waste such as juice pouches, solo cups and chip bags. Removing these items from the waste stream reduces pressure on landfills.
TerraCycle weighs LeBlanc’s pouches and sends him a check.
LeBlanc has chosen to donate money from the juice company to Nightengale Elementary’s student council.
Once the pouches are cleaned and sorted, they are ready to be repurposed into backpacks, pencil cases, and lunch boxes. Any pouches that are too dirty to be upcycled and are shredded and compressed to be made into new materials.
On Feb. 13, 2013, after just over a week, LeBlanc and his schoolmates had collected approximately 300 pouches.