Ridgewood community collects bottle caps for benches

| May 20, 2023

Last fall, when Ridgewood Elementary School Counselor Missy Grimmett received a letter from Alex Nelson about the Bottle Caps to Benches program, she knew it would be a great project for the school district.

“After we got into collecting, some of it became tedious, like separating the caps to be sure none had any type of metal in it,” Grimmett said.  “But each school had students that looked at the donations. I had some high schoolers help me when we first got started, too, just to get the process going.”

Grimmett said the community really got behind the project. “We put a 50-gallon barrel near our bus garage and the community could drop off bottle caps there. We needed 200 pounds of caps and $375 for each bench. By January, we had enough for three benches. But then the price went up.” She said she sent letters to all the businesses in West Lafayette asking for monetary donations to pay for the benches.

“The first bench was paid for by Crozier Welding and it was placed on CR-1A at Skip’s Landing. Mint Ivy, Beyond the Bell, West Lafayette Lions Club, Renegade Tattoo, Professional Reconditioning and Mrs. Cabot all made donations, too,” Grimmett said. “There is a bench at the elementary school, middle school, high school, administration building and one at Water Works Park.”

Grimmett said she asked the company making the benches about tours for the students, but the factory isn’t open for tours. They explained the process to the kids and will be sending a video at some point. “The kids are in awe when they sit on the benches that all those caps, they collected made the bench – that they helped make this happen,” she said.

The schools did activities about recycling. “I think the kids would continue to collect the bottle caps if they could,” Grimmett said. “They had so much fun and got to meet friends that they might not have met otherwise. It was a great community and school project. The community really backed us by donating caps and money. The students just love sitting on the benches and seeing their hard work made into a bench.”

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Category: Education

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