Bottle-redemption program clicks with Cape Elizabeth students

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Two local schools were leaders in a recycling program that raises money for recreational programs. 

From February through April, Cape Elizabeth Middle School students raised money raised through the CLYNK bottle and can redemption service at Hannaford supermarkets to help pay for a trip to Chewonki. The Wiscasset-based outdoor camp has been a sixth-grade highlight for 33 years.

Sheri Bragg, a parent who oversees CLYNK’s program at CEMS, said money to finance the Chewonki trip was cut several years ago. But through private donations from families, the trip continued. To ensure the continuation of the Chewonki tradition, fundraising through CLYNK began in 2009, and is a major factor.

Recycling through CLYNK and the Chewonki environmental program goes “hand in hand” for students, Bragg said. 

Schools are divided into two tiers, based on enrollment. Tier 1 features schools of 400-plus students; Tier 2 is for schools of 399 or fewer pupils.

The schools with the highest per-student bottle return rate were CEMS, Pond Cove elementary School and Casco Bay High School in Portland.

Tier 2 leaders included social services organization STRIVE TOPS of South Portland, which came in third.

“The program is really a win. It’s a really unique and great funding opportunity for any school,” said Kendall Hinkley, marketing manager for CLYNK.

Bragg said credit goes to the kids who engage in friendly classroom competitions to see who can collect the most cans and bottles for recycling. Each classroom at the elementary and middle school has a dedicated bag for collecting the recyclables.

“For this to be so successful with this, is really a tribute to the kids,” Bragg said.

Lisa D. Connell can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or Follow Lisa on Twitter: @connell_ld.