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In support of Keep America Beautiful's "Great American Cleanup," the United States' largest annual community improvement organization, Sam's Club joined with Aquafina to encourage recycling with the "Return the Warmth" initiative. "Return the Warmth" encouraged local communities and schools to recycle 80 million PET bottles during the 2008 Great American Cleanup, which occurred nationwide from March 1 through May 31. The results, 189 million recycled bottles, far surpassed that goal.
A grand total of 25,000 fleece jackets made from recycled plastic bottle material were distributed to the 100 schools that gathered the most bottles. Additionally, the top 50 schools received a $1,000 Sam's Club Gift Card.
This was the third year that the retailer and Aquafina joined forces with Keep America Beautiful on the Great American Cleanup. Last year the program recycled 70.6 million bottles.
"Return the Warmth has been a testament to Sam's Club and Aquafina's creativity in putting Keep America Beautiful's message of 'closing the loop' to work, and teaching it to schoolchildren across the country," said Keep America Beautiful president and c.e.o. Matthew McKenna.
According to Mario Palomino, director of sales at Purchase, N.Y.-based Pepsi-Cola North America Beverages, makers of Aquafina: "In addition, this program reinforces our corporate and social responsibility to conserve, reuse, and recycle energy and natural resources to protect our world. We hope this initiative helps to encourage families to take a more active role in the preservation of their environment and contribute to their communities."
Stamford, Conn.-based Keep America Beautiful, established in 1953, is the nation's largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. The Great American Cleanup mobilizes millions of volunteers to improve their communities through hands-on participation.
Sam's Club, a division of Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., is the nation's largest warehouse chain in the United States serving small business owners and operators.