- Keep America Beautiful will lead a new campaign to educate 10,000 students in Flint, MI about recycling. Funding will be provided by The Coca-Cola Company, Nestle Waters North America, the PepsiCo Foundation and the Walmart Foundation, as reported by MLive.
- Local affiliate Keep Genesee County Beautiful will help develop educational materials and lesson plans. The initiative's goal is to see a 25% improvement in school recycling.
- Take-home materials will also be developed so students can help spread the message to their families, with the goal of increasing participation in curbside recycling programs as well.
Last year, these same four companies announced a plan to provide 6.5 million bottles of water to Flint residents in the wake of their lead-tainted water crisis. During this time, Keep Genesee County Beautiful was also a main facilitator for recycling efforts and education.
The millions of water bottles provided by these companies, government agencies and other sources piled up quickly and created a challenge for local officials. Republic Services played a key role in helping collect the bottles at the time and cited this community work as one of the reasons it should continue to service the city during a lengthy contract dispute last year. While these water bottles should never have been necessary in the first place, their continued presence in the community provide a unique opportunity to raise awareness about recycling.
This new campaign is part of ongoing work by Keep America Beautiful and other groups to instill recycling education in students ranging from elementary school to college. Though environmental awareness appears to be common among younger generations, surveys have shown that some people are still skeptical of the recycling process and more education could be useful.