Wilton students know, recycling can make a difference—even a financial one. That’s the premise behind Bottled Up! for Wilton Schools, the student-run fundraising effort that raises money for the Wilton school district by redeeming bottles and cans for the 5-cent deposit money. The group is holding a community-wide bottle and can collection drive on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 9 a.m. to 12:00 noon at Cider Mill School.

Bottled Up! for Wilton Schools is affiliated with the Wilton Education Foundation (WEF). It was founded four years ago by a small group of then-second graders who wanted to give back to the schools and help the school district meet ever-tightening budget needs. The student members and their families collect bottles and cans–individually, at community-wide collections, and at community and school events–and then redeem them for the bottle deposit, collecting the money in a bank account at Wilton Bank.

Since forming, the group not only has learned about organizing a philanthropy and community relations, but it also has donated $2,300 to the schools through WEF, most recently this past Tuesday, Oct. 22 when they presented a check for $1,000 to the WEF board from their past year’s collection. All in all, that’s a lot of bottles and cans. Their efforts prove the group’s motto, which the students came up with themselves:  Recycling Makes Cents.

At the Saturday, Oct. 26 event, Bottled Up! students will be at Cider Mill to collect any bottles and cans that residents would like to donate. “We’re making it easy for anyone who has recyclables to donate. You can just drive into the Cider Mill bus loop, pop open your trunk, and we will unload your bottles and cans for you—you don’t even have to get out of your car,” said Maden Herve, one of the founding student members.

The students will then sort, count and bag the recycled items and redeem them. The event is operating on the same day as the Wilton Conservation Committee’s town-wide cleanup.

Stop & Shop, Westy Self Storage, and Wilton Hardware are local businesses which have agreed to sponsor the event with in-kind and material donations.

The Wilton Education Foundation is dedicated to enriching the learning experience for Wilton students by providing ongoing professional development for teachers, the latest in innovative and interactive teaching tools, support for music and the arts, and “beyond the classroom” experiences to provide Wilton’s public school students with the confidence and skills to succeed in college and beyond. For more information on the foundation, its mission, volunteer opportunities, and the many events and programs, please visit www.WiltonEducationFoundation.org.

Editor’s note: GMW.com’s Heather Borden Herve is the WEF board member who helps run Bottled Up!