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POST BY: Year 12 Student, Roxanne L. – shares her experiences supporting The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation

At the beginning of this school year, Brandon, Demre and I, have started working on a bottle cap collection project for a charity called The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation (KNGF). We collect any type of bottle caps in any colour and size just as long as it is hard plastic. We have built and decorated two bottle cap containers for the purpose of collecting the bottle caps which we have placed in the atrium and in the student café.

Why bottle caps? Well, bottle caps can easily be collected and are made of a type of plastic that can be easily recycled. We collect the bottle caps and donate them to the guide dog foundation. They can then sell the bottle caps on to be recycled into plastic pellets that can be sold for a small profit. All the money is used to train their guide dogs.

The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation (KNGF) is a charity based in the Netherlands that trains guide dogs for visually impaired or handicapped people. Guide dogs don’t just help blind people, they can dramatically improve the life of people with a wide range of disabilities such as autism, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and hearing disabilities. Guide dogs can help in so many ways, however, the charity relies on donations and volunteerism to provide the dogs’ training. It costs on average 5,000 euros to train a guide dog from when it is a puppy to a fully grown and trained guide dog including food and medical expenses. This amounts to about 11 million caps to train just one guide dog! So far we have collected over 3000 bottle caps! Admittedly, this number of bottle caps is far from being enough to fully fund the training of a guide dog but if you consider all the bottle caps collected by people all over the Netherlands, then the 11 million mark does not seem so far off anymore!

Since we have started collecting the bottle caps, we have emptied the containers three time! We have been very pleasantly surprised at the rate at which the containers have been filling up these past three months. We would like to thank all those of you who donated bottle caps and hope you will continue to do so. Not only will this help people with disabilities but also have a positive impact on the environment. Pellets are most commonly made out of wood, so every pellet made out of recycled plastic will help save a tree from being used for that purpose. The project will continue until the end of this school year and hopefully someone in the year below will want to continue it next year.