To help kick off the holiday season, nearly 3,000 warm fleece jackets made from recycled plastic bottles were recently donated to children in four communities across America.
The donation of the 100 percent recycled-content fleece jackets was made possible by Keep America Beautiful and its partner, Unilever, a national sponsor of the national nonprofit’s “I Want To Be Recycled” public service advertising and awareness campaign, which seeks to educate and engage people to understand the “how, what, where and why” of recycling.
The fleece jacket donations began around Keep America Beautiful’s America Recycles Day initiative, which takes place annually on and in the weeks leading into Nov. 15. The first jacket distribution was made at an event on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Brighton Elementary School in Brighton, Tennessee, which featured Missy Marshall, director of Keep Tennessee Beautiful, and Brenda Pulley, senior vice president of recycling of Keep America Beautiful, who discussed the importance of recycling and how to recycle correctly. Keep America Beautiful affiliate Keep Tipton County Beautiful coordinated the donation.
“As the colder temperatures roll in, we are thrilled to be able to provide local students with warm jackets. That they are made from recycled content makes the opportunity that much more rewarding,” said Ruth Wallace, director of Keep Tipton County Beautiful.
Keep America Beautiful affiliate “I Live Here” in Scott County, Iowa, coordinated the next delivery of 700 toasty-warm fleece jackets on Nov. 15, America Recycles Day. This donation of jackets was made to Coats for Kids, a Bettendorf, Iowa, program that provides winter coats to children to support their physical, social and emotional health.
“Coats not only provide warmth, but they keep kids healthy and in school, and kids with coats can play outside with other kids,” says Denise Zimmer, who facilitates the Dr. David E. Lane Coats for Kids Program, which is the formal name for the “Coats for Kids” program. The program is housed and managed by the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency in Bettendorf, Iowa.
An additional donation of 700 jackets from Keep America Beautiful and Unilever was made to inspirational youth athletes from Special Olympics Chicago. The jackets were distributed through Keep Chicago Beautiful during the opening ceremonies of the annual Snowshoe Competition held by Special Olympics Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 10, at Chicago’s Norwood Park.
“With the cold Chicago winter, we are thrilled to be able to provide these young athletes with another layer of warmth,” said Joyce Charmatz, founder and CEO of Keep Chicago Beautiful. “That they are made from recycled content is a shining example of how recycling is not only good for the environment and the economy, but it also can have a spectacular social impact.”
The final donation of jackets took place at an all-school assembly at Englewood, New Jersey’s Dr. John Grieco Elementary School on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide all of our students with warm fleece jackets,” said Daniela Small-Bailey, principal, Dr. John Grieco Elementary School (pictured above). “The fact that they are made from recycled content gives us the chance to turn this opportunity into an educational experience as well.”
Lauren Harper, director, Sustainable Living and Unilever Brand, and Mike Rosen, senior vice president of marketing and communications, Keep America Beautiful, discussed the real-world impact of recycling and the benefits of the environmental, economical and social impact recycling can have when you “Give Your Garbage Another Life” to the assembled students and faculty.
Unilever has joined with Keep America Beautiful to encourage Americans to reassess their recycling habits and treat their bathroom empties with the same respect as their kitchen counterparts. As part of the “I Want To Be Recycled” campaign earlier this year, Unilever and Keep America Beautiful showcased the amazing things recycled bottles can become when you #ReThinkRecycling. Consumers voted online for which products they wanted their recyclables to become and children’s jackets was the winning vote.
Take the #BeRecycled Pledge at AmericaRecyclesDay.org/pledge.