Between February and April this year, children at 88 Maine schools came home with white envelopes. Inside, a standard issue Clynk bag, the kind you can get at any Hannaford in the state. Outside? A special sticker that identifies the school (or community) fund that gets the money for the returned recyclable bottles. In this case, that HARRIETBEE stands for Brunswick’s Harriet Beecher Stowe School.

723005_clynkThe idea is simple and very effective: Enlist a child’s competitive side in a fundraiser. (One that doesn’t involve selling gift wrap or magazine subscriptions!) Those empties have to go back anyway. But this way, when the parents returns all of his empty Budweiser cans – oh wait, organic juice bottles – to the store as usual, instead of putting their personalized Clynk program sticker on the outside, they slap on a tag like this one. (The parent group in charge of the fundraising campaign pays for the stickers in bulk lots of at least 100.)

The schools compete to see which brings back the most containers. In the contest this past spring, 366,000 containers were recycled in Maine as part of that contest, and the schools collectively raised more than $30,000 in cash and prices.

Who were the champions? Lincoln Academy in the more-than-400-students category and Cliff Island in the fewer-than-400-students category.

Call 1-866-228-8454 or visit to learn more about the Hannaford Community Cash program, which has been used to raise nearly $1 million since it began.

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