Back to School! We are at the mid-point of the summer. Back to school sales are upon us. We’ve even started searching for back to school supplies.
Many schools are hurting for funding and are looking at ways to creatively raise some cash. It is a necessary evil. Boy, I really don’t care for most of the traditional school fundraisers. The items are almost always overpriced because there is a middle-man taking their cut. The products can be sub-par as far as quality in some cases. Most people feel obligated to buy something. Wouldn’t it be better to go a different way?
As part of a Back to School Blog Carnival hosted by Retro Housewife Goes Green, I’ve put together a few options that won’t cost family members an arm and a leg and actually do some good besides raising the profits of the company selling the junk merchandise.
If you have been reading this blog, you know that I started a TerraCycle program called Upcycle It! a little over 3 years ago. TerraCycle collects otherwise un-recyclable items, keeping them out of the waste stream, and turns them into new products. They accept over 40 different items such as chip bags, granola wrappers, writing instruments, cell phones and much more.
As if that wasn’t cool enough, for each item sent to TerraCycle, money is donated to your school or non-profit. Most items are 2 cents. Doesn’t sound like much does it? But it’s pretty much free money. Think about all the granola bar wrappers coming into schools each day. All you have to do is get those wrappers into a box, slap a pre-paid shipping label on it and voila – money! Since starting Upcycle It!, we have raised almost $9,000. Yup, 2 cents at a time folks!
Got shoes that you’ve outgrown? What school aged child doesn’t! Collect those paired, reusable shoes, ShoeBox Recycling will pay you $0.50 per pair. Our school district’s elementary and middle school Parent Teacher Organizations (PTO) started this program last school year. The Elementary schools alone made almost $3000. The President of the PTO said it was so easy! She was very smart and placed boxes at our local library, a couple of shoe stores in town and the senior center in addition to the elementary schools.
The shoes are “distributed for resale and reuse in [their] original form, at various local marketplaces around the world.” ShoeBox Recycling provides the boxes and FedEx will deliver them, free of charge. Your school will receive a monthly check with your earnings.
Did you know that you can donate clothing that may be ripped or stained? Yes, you can! And your school could benefit. There are many companies that collect old clothing or fabric of any kind (including old stuffed animals, curtains, towels and more) and pay those who house their collection bins.
One such company in my area, Bay State Textiles, pays schools $100 per ton. Bay State Textiles works with your school and provides education materials to help spread the word. They are currently working with several towns in the area. One, Beverly, MA, collected over 11,000 pounds in the month of June alone. The school made $586!
All of these programs take minimal effort, reduce items going into the waste stream, and don’t cost parents or relatives a dime. Win-win-win. The environment benefits too – WIN!
For more great back to school posts, be sure to check out the blog carnival.
Know of any other out of the box fundraisers?