The Importance of Inspiring Kids to Recycle


Grace Sica, VP of Corporate Partnerships at Operation WarmThis post was written by Grace Sica, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at Operation Warm.

This week, Operation Warm announced that we will be offering a coat made from recycled PET, the same material used to make water bottles. This coat – called the “Green Guardian™” – will be made from the equivalent of 32 plastic water bottles. This is great for the planet and children in need. However, the gift of this coat will do more than keep kids warm, it will inspire.

It will inspire kids to recycle. It will inspire them to see how our individual actions can make a big difference. It will inspire them to dream about innovation: If a water bottle can become a coat, anything is possible.

The introduction of a coat made from recycled PET is just one of the ways that Operation Warm is #morethanacoat. For sustainable options to make an impact they can’t just be a premium product, they need to be available to families at every income level. We are excited to offer this coat for a $30 donation.

Here are a few details about how the impact of these coats will go much further:

Conserving Resources

There are four ways that Operation Warm’s Green Guardian™ will help to conserve resources:

  1. A single plastic water bottle takes 500 years to decompose. Recycling PET to make our coats will put existing plastic to good use today, no need to wait five centuries for it to disappear!
  2. Imagine if plastic were considered valuable, it wouldn’t line our streets as litter. Increasing demand for recycled PET can help to keep plastic bottles out of the ocean and landfills.
  3. Using recycled PET reduces the demand for petroleum.
  4. It requires much less energy to use recycled plastic than virgin plastic, it takes 33-53% less energy.
Adding power to the recycled PET movement

Every year we see more companies using polyester made from recycled PET. In October of 2017, some of the biggest apparel brands – Adidas, Eileen Fisher, Gap, H&M, Target, etc. – made a pledge to increase their use of recycled PET by at least 25% by 2020. Needless to say Operation Warm is excited to be in excellent company!

People care about the environment, young people care more

Younger populations tend to be more concerned with the environment. Adults younger than 30 are more likely than those 65 and older to say that protecting the environment should be a top priority (64% vs. 48%). Further, kids tend to be even more vocal in their support. Recycling is one of the easiest ways to show kids how individuals can make a difference in improving the environment.

Inspire more recycling

For a long time, the conversation about recycling has focused on getting people to put their bottle in the blue bin. Yet, recycling rates in the US have also been stagnant for a long time – only about 31% of all plastic bottles get recycled. Let’s inspire the conversation by showing people what things can be recycled into.

Click here to learn more about the Green Guardian™ coat and how it can make a great impact on children and our planet.

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