Kids convert tech junk to cashPublished 10:59pm Wednesday, March 6, 2013
A recycling program for used ink cartridges, old cellphones and other technology cast-offs will benefit students at Mack Benn Jr. Elementary, the school’s Parent-Teacher Association president says.
FundingFactory allows schools, churches, Scout troops and other groups to convert such items into cash and classroom supplies, said Stephanie Morris, also a substitute teacher at the school.
She said she discovered the program, which started at Mack Benn only last month, while searching for PTA opportunities to help teachers, in a tough economy, get what they need to teach.
“I started researching, and it was completely free,” she said. “We didn’t have to pay to sign up.”
There’s currently one small collection box at Mack Benn’s front desk, which Morris said is a convenient location for parents depositing or collecting students, and for students themselves who bring items from home.
The program has only just started, and Morris said more collection points are planned, including off-campus locations via the school’s various business partners.
As far as Morris knows, the program is not operating in other Suffolk schools; she encouraged other schools, including those beyond Suffolk, to give it a try.
“It’s good for the teachers, it’s good for the students, and it’s good for the environment,” she said. “It runs all year round.”
From the program’s website, www.fundingfactory.com, participants can select promotional posters and collection boxes, which all are free, Morris noted.
“You can have posters sent or just download them,” she said.
Collected items, some of which are worth more points than others, are redeemed in either cash or classroom items like Smart Boards and die cutting machines.
“They aren’t necessarily the PTA’s responsibility to buy, but with the economy the way it is, they aren’t necessarily in the budget for our teachers,” Morris said.
“Anything that helps our teachers helps our children – they have a huge list of things they can get.”
The program started at Mack Benn a little less than three weeks ago, she said, adding, “We actually have almost enough to send in one small box – a lot of ink cartridges. The kids are very excited.”
The Mack Benn PTA is also collecting plastic bags, as well as encouraging parents and others to donate classroom supplies. The collection point for both is just inside the front door.