Return-It Blog

Rutland Elementary: Trading Containers for Camping

Return-It School Winner (Elementary) 2017/2018

Every year, we’re blown away by the wonderful and empowering ways BC schools run their beverage container collection programs.

For the kids at Rutland Elementary—one of our Return-It School Contest winners for the 2017/2018 school year—beverage container recycling has been common practice for years, and last year was no exception. Students diverted 5,842 containers from the landfill and in the process, earned $296.45 to put towards the purchase of musical instruments for their school. There are now a few more budding young ukulele players in Kelowna!

"Everyone is proud of the effort and the engagement the students at Rutland Elementary have with Return-It School program" says Allen Langdon, President and CEO of Return-It.

The concept of “reduce, reuse, recycle” is so important to Rutland Elementary that every year, grade three students take a field trip to the Kelowna Landfill to learn the up-close consequences of unnecessary waste. The school’s goal is “to keep recyclable containers out of the landfill and to use refillable containers more often.” Through documentation, they’ve not only improved their recycling habits, but have also seen a drop in recyclable containers, as more students now bring reusable containers to school. What a win for the environment!

The biggest recycling effort, however, comes from the school’s grade five students. Every year, they have the opportunity to go on a year-end camping trip before graduating from elementary school. The cost is covered by—you guessed it!—recycled beverage containers.

This past year the grade fives hosted two bottle drives, gathering containers from students, family, friends, and their wider community. The result? 69,590 containers collected and a whopping $5,319.10 raised. What a stellar achievement! Rutland Elementary’s newest graduates helped divert tens of thousands of containers from the landfill, and were able to attend their exciting camping trip at Gardom Lake.

Congratulations to Rutland Elementary for winning this year’s Return-It School Contest, and long may their recycling program success continue.

You can read the full Rutland Elementary Return-It School story at

Want to participate in the Return-It School contest too? Visit for more information.

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