Jersey City Charter School Wins New Playground By Recycling Oral Hygiene Products

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Children at a New Jersey charter school are showing off the benefits of brushing and flossing their teeth– and it’s not just in their smiles.

CBS2’s Elise Finch explains they won a recycling contest by saving old toothpaste tubes and dental floss containers.

The Jersey City students of Beloved Community Charter School were all smiles as they raced around their brand new playground, complete with a side, monkey bars and mini climbing wall.

“We had to collect empty toothpaste containers and old toothbrushes,” second grader Jayla Roman said.

The Recycled Playground Challenge was sponsored by Colgate, ShopRite and the Trenton-based company Terracycle.

“Anything related to oral care we had them bring in, we had a box in our main office and they just dumped it in there,” teacher Jomayra Torres said.

All 600 students, their parents and teachers at the school spent four months collecting oral hygiene products and urging people to vote for them online.

“We made phone calls, we sent email blasts we put it on our Facebook page,” Victoria De Leon said.

“We’d also been looking for some time to see how we could ever afford a playground. It was something we wanted desperately and we thought would be wonderful for the children but we just couldn’t afford it,” Bret Schundler said.

Their much-needed playground prize is a direct result of the students’ actions. It’s made in part from the same empty toothpaste tubes, dental floss containers and old toothbrushes that the children collected.

Students were given an opportunity to play on the playground for the first time Wednesday and they were all too happy to tell CBS2 which section they liked best.

“The slide!” Joseph Haot said.

“It goes like really fast down and I like fast,” Roman said.

“I can learn new stuff like how to do monkey bars and climb and go through tunnels,” Abigail Delapaz said.

The 3-year old charter school beat schools in five states to win the playground, valued at $40,000.

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