Bannockburn School students turn fund-raising into ‘greenraising’
Bannockburn students won prizes for correctly guessing for how many plastic bottles go unrecycled at the school every day. | Photos courtesy of Caroline Shapiro
Bannockburn School contest winners
Winners who came closest to guessing the correct number of 83 sandwich bags were:
• Henry Yucknut, fifth grade
• Caleb Ng, third grade
• Christine Lee, fifth grade
Winners who came closest to guessing the correct number of 15 water bottles were:
• Sarah Miekley, second grade
• Sophia Fakhoury, fifth grade
• Helen Ilkiu, fifth grade
• Jessie Jiang, second grade
Updated: November 12, 2012 10:35AM
BANNOCKBURN — Dressed as Mother Nature, Caroline Shapiro helped a student at Bannockburn School pick a bracelet recycled from flip-flops worn in Africa.
The bracelet was one of many eco-friendly prizes offered to the school’s first- through eighth-graders for guessing how many sandwich bags and disposable bottles the student body throws away during a typical lunch period.
Each week on Tuesday, the 150 students at Bannockburn School bring their lunches to school. Dismayed the children didn’t use the recycling bins provided, Shapiro, mother of third-grader Landon Smith, came up with a two-part contest to build awareness of the amount of waste generated.
In turned out that Bannockburn students were throwing out an average of 83 plastic sandwich bags and 15 water bottles every day.
“No one is telling them to recycle the plastic bags,” Shapiro said. “I just like any chance to remind anybody about recycling and reusing.”
The contest was part of a week long push toward the school’s fund-raising campaign through ‘Greenraising,’ www.greenraising.com, which offers eco-friendly and fair-trade fund-raising products. The school hopes to raise $5,000 to be used for a variety of activities throughout the school year, including hospitality, a school picnic and gifts for families new to the school.
“We were looking for a fund-raiser that reflected the values of our school,” Shapiro said. “With Greenraising, we feel good about the products we sell and about the lessons the children are learning. They need to know that their actions can make a difference in the world, as well as support our school.”
Throughout the year, Bannockburn School receives 25 percent of all sales of the eco-friendly and fair-trade products. But through Oct. 16, the school will receive 45 percent of all sales. Items include range from the recycled bracelet to a wallet made from bike tubes.
Marta Keane, president of the Illinois Recycling Association, applauded Shapiro’s efforts, adding that her organization has devoted nearly a decade to promoting waste-free lunches. That includes serving an appropriate amount of food and being mindful of the packaging and adopting reusable bottles and sandwich bags.
“Food waste is the heaviest thing they have to dispose of,” she said. “If you decrease the volume and decrease weight you can save money for the school.”
Contests, clubs and other eco-friendly learning activities not only help the environment, they can enhance the curriculum, Keane said.
“For example, they can use math in school to weigh the trash,” she said.
Keane’s organization relies heavily on grassroots efforts like Shapiro’s to educate and spread the word about recycling.
“We’re very reliant on that,” she said. “You can have a number of different people who step up. That’s what we need everywhere, even in an office environment.”
The Illinois Recycling Association provides videos to help individuals learn how to start recycling programs in their schools, offices and communities. For more information, visit www.illinoisrecycles.org.
To purchase products toward Bannockburn School’s fund-raising campaign, visit