Photo: Recyclebank
Photo: Recyclebank

Recyclebank‘s eighth annual Green Schools Program is moving along at full force.

In case you aren’t familiar with the program, it awards grant money to schools for unique projects that will green their classroom and community.

Since 2007, the Green Schools program has granted close to $450,000 that helped more than 150 schools across the country bring their sustainable ideas to life.

From now until March 16, Recyclebank members are encouraged to donate points to schools of their choice participating in the program to help them reach their target funding goals.

Members can learn about the schools’ project ideas, donate their points and track each school’s progress online. For every 250 member points donated, Recyclebank awards schools $1 that can be used toward their green project.

Twenty-nine schools are participating in the program this year, with projects ranging from school gardens and recycling programs to upcycled art projects. Each school can request up to $2,500 in grant money for their project.

“The whole reason we feel so strongly about the Green Schools Program is that we want to empower youth to be thinking about the environment, thinking about what they can do–in their school, in their community, in their home–to make an impact,” Karen Bray, vice president of marketing at Recyclebank, told Earth911.

In addition to member donations, Domtar Corp. is supporting the Green Schools Program for the second year in a row and will contribute additional donation dollars as well as a year’s supply of its EarthChoice Office Paper to the school with the most innovative project.

So far, Burton Elementary School in Huntington Woods, Mich. has already achieved its $2,500 goal to fund a lunchroom waste reduction program. Keith Elementary in Cypress, Texas also met its $850 target to construct an on-site greenhouse for environmental education, while Central High School in Philadelphia crossed the finish line for its $2,000 goal to restore patio boxes for urban gardening.

Two other Philadelphia schools, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy and Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School, are also tantalizingly close their funding goals to construct birdhouses and launch a recycling program. Other leading projects so far include a horticultural project and a school-wide art installation.

For Recyclebank, these projects represent small changes that carry potentially big impacts for the future of our planet.

“A lot of the conversations around being a little greener center around the next generation,” Bray noted “So what better way to start to build that awareness and that passion than going directly to the students and giving back a little bit?”

To view a full list of participating schools, donate to your favorite and track their progress, visit the Green Schools Program online.

By Mary Mazzoni

Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.