PAW PAW — Each year $435 million worth of all recyclable materials are sent from Michigan households to Michigan landfills, prompting MSU Extension officials in Van Buren and Berrien counties to take action.

The extension’s new 4-H Caps for Benches Challenge asks current 4-H youth from the two counties to become environmental stewards by collecting recyclable plastic materials that will be melted down into benches, tables, garden planters and other item, which in turn will be donated back to the local communities.

Th county-to-county challenge started March 15 with collection lasting until May 30.

“We are asking those residing in Van Buren and Berrien counties to help the 4-H youth with this challenge by collecting caps and lids,” said Janice Zerbe, a Van Buren MSU Extension educator.

Acceptable lids and caps include caps or lids with the 2, 4, 04 5 recycle number. Examples of acceptable lids and caps follow: medicine bottle caps (information packet removed), milk jug lids, creamer caps, detergent caps, hair spray caps, toothpaste caps, deodorant caps, applesauce pouch caps, drink bottle caps, flip top caps (ketchup, mustard), spout caps, ointment tube caps, baby food caps, shampoo/conditioner caps, cottage cheese lids, coffee lids, butter lids, cream cheese container lids, spice lids, ice cream lids under 8 inches in diameter, peanut butter lids, mayonnaise jar lids, yogurt lids, Cool Whip container lids, Pringle can lids, bug spray lids,and sunscreen lids.

Unacceptable lids or caps are those with 1, 3, 6 or 7 recycle number. These include the following: any metal, drink bottles, prescription bottles, trigger sprays, all fast food drinks, trash, cardboard liners, all food containers, lotion pumps, soap pumps, grocery bags, K-cups or straws, any paper, and human or animal medical supplies.

All caps/lids must be cleaned prior to dropping them off, Extension officials stress. To make arrangements to drop off caps and lids or to find a drop-off location contact Kelly Stelter for Berrien County, 269-927-5675 ext. 4015, or Janice Zerbe for Van Buren County, or 269-657-8213. All individuals/families dropping off caps/lids must wear a face mask.