Long Island school wins new playground made of recycled dental products

BETHPAGE, Long Island (WABC) -- An elementary school on Long Island has won a new playground made entirely of recycled dental products.

Students at John H. West Elementary School in Bethpage collected 13,500 units of oral care waste -- like toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes and dental floss canisters -- as part of the Colgate, ShopRite and TerraCycle Recycled Playground Challenge.

"This was made out of garbage, like, things that we didn't want to use anymore," student Kevin Schneider said of the playground.

The new playground has monkey bars, a climbing wall, two ladders, a tunnel and a slide.

"Some toothbrushes can be a little bendable, and this doesn't bend at all," student Sofia Leonard said.

Trenton-based recycling company TerraCycle processed all the waste and designed the playground.

"We take the toothbrushes and the toothpaste tubes and grind them up and turn them into a recycled pellet and mix them with some other waste streams, so that we can get right to the material that's needed for something like a playground," said Michael Waas with TerraCycle. "This is designed to last for decades."

Giselle Koval, with Colgate, said the recycled playground program is part of the company's global corporate mission to recycling.

"We've been able to divert about roughly nine million pieces of oral care waste globally from landfills," Koval said.

Seth Greenfield, of ShopRite, said the company is glad to participate in the program.

"This playground is going to touch a lot of lives, for a lot of years, so it's something meaningful we can do," he said.

The school came in seventh place in the competition two years ago, but it won this time around based upon the total number of products collected and online community votes during the 2017-2018 school year.

"We got help from the other schools, the other elementary schools," parent Tara Schneider said. "So we got to show our children what it's like to work as a community and teamwork and perseverance."

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