When is a bench so much more than a place to sit?

When it’s made from over  200 lbs. of recycled plastic lids collected, cleaned and sorted by Philadelphia students! 

Maybe you’re thinking “that seems easy enough.” But you’ll share in our amazement that this bench is safely installed at the McCall School playground once you learn that:



200 lbs of plastic lids fill a minivan!

9. Unloading and checking our caps

The only facility that currently makes benches from recycled plastic lids is 900 miles from the school–in Indiana! And they do not ship.

When the 3rd graders of Ms. Hantman’s 2017-2018 class decided they wanted to tackle pollution, they were on high alert thinking about what they could do to make a difference. The students remember when their classmate, Mason, had the idea to turn plastic into a bench. He recalls seeing a flyer in a laundromat created by students in the suburbs–collecting plastic lids to get a bench. He took it straight to school knowing they needed all sorts of ideas to decide on how to address Pollution–the topic their class chose to focus on for their service-learning project that year.  They explored the idea and discovered that the ABC Promise Partnership at Green Tree Plastics required in-person delivery and pick-up in Indiana. What did Ms. Hantman say? Yes! She just knew she’d figure it out.  So for the rest of the year and into the following year students networked far and wide to collect all the plastic caps and lids they could.

“The bag started overflowing!” Isabel recalls. “So we got new bags.”

 Zakha’a remembers, “We started out collecting caps as a competition, but then we just worked together as a team.”

One whole year later, the amazing Ms. Hantman found herself on a road trip to Indiana with a good friend and 200 lbs of plastic lids in her “luggage”  They returned from their adventures with a beautiful new bench!  She proudly reports the class received “A” grades in cleaning, sorting and accurate weighing!

McCall 5th graders

These students are now in 5th grade and could not be more proud of what they’ve accomplished. They have four more years at McCall to use the bench and share the message of how they made it happen. Some would like this to be a “buddy bench” — a place where fellow students can go if they need a friend to play with. They know for sure they’re getting a plaque because they want the whole community to know–this bench is special!  We bet you’ll agree.