Troop 30364, from St. Paul Catholic School in Valparaiso, Indiana, took a “sit” against littering and for recycling at nearby Camp Butternut Springs and donated a bench made out of 400 pounds of recycled plastic water bottle caps.
The plaque on the bench reads: “Enjoy resting on this bench made of 400 lbs. of plastic caps – a Porter County Community recycling project made possible by Brownie Scout Troop #30364 and Pines Village Retirement Communities, Inc. 2016.”
The troop delivered the bench in April with the help of Pines Village Retirement Community’s CAPs Crew, which cleans, sorts and bundles un-recyclable plastic bottle caps.
Members of the troop came up with the idea to create a sustainable bench while earning their Brownies Quest Keys Award.
“Through this award, we learned that together their three Keys – Discover, Connect, and Take Action – unlock the meaning of leadership,” they explained. “To earn our last Key, we had to take action somehow in our community.”
The girls decided that recycling would be their focus and started their research. They came across an article from Pines Village Retirement Community about transforming recycled caps into benches, and decided to partner with the crew. With the help of Lu Krieger-Blake and some of their Girl Scout Cookie sales money, they participated in a program called “A Bench For Caps.”
Troop members Dina Nguyen, Kylie Starkey and Elise Maxey thought that the hardest part of the project was collecting 400 pounds of clean, non-metal, plastic caps. According to the community’s website, these caps can include:
- Snap-On cottage cheese, coffee can, and yogurt lids
- Twist-on medicine, drink, and milk bottles, including the ring
- Flip-top ketchup and condiment bottles
- Large twist-off lids (such as detergent)
- Spout lids (such as squirt mustard)
While there were some challenges to the project, they said the most fun was when they went to the Pines Village Retirement Community and met with Lu and the CAPs Crew.
“We spent time with them sorting caps while learning about each other,” said the girls. “Before we left we sang them our favorite Girl Scout anthem: ‘Make New Friends.’ It was a great time and we can’t wait to go back!”
This project has inspired their troop to make more change in the world by continuing to save caps and work with Pines Village Retirement Community CAPs Crew. In doing this, they hope to help put brand new sustainable and eco-friendly benches around the community for people to enjoy, all while keeping plastic caps from ending up in landfills.
“We are so proud of our Brownie Troop 30364,” said troop leader Diane Nguyen.
“And we look forward to many adventures in the future!” said troop leader Tiffany Maxey.