Lids to Benches A New Recycling Model

A recent national study found that more than 90% of Americans participate in some type of recycling, whether on a weekly basis with a bin they set by the curb or by putting their water bottle in the recycle bin at the gym, instead of throwing it in the trash. Many of the businesses that we frequent have bins encouraging the separation of recyclable items from that deemed waste. Truly, recycling couldn’t be easier; however, some items, like plastic caps and lids, are made of a different type of plastic, requiring an alternate recycling method. Local 

Forsyth Country Day School senior, Caden Didier, took on the problem of plastic lids and started “Lids to Benches,” collecting plastic caps and lids, which, with enough of them, are made into recycled benches. This effort of Caden’s is a community project, and each of us can help!

From Project to Passion

After taking an Environmental Science class his junior year, Caden discovered his passion for the environment. “Seniors at FCDS have a capstone project and I wanted to incorporate my passion for the environment into my project by collecting plastic caps and lids to make into benches for our local parks. My overall goal is to give back to my community while also helping reduce the environmental impact within Winston-Salem,” said Caden.

Who Knew All Plastic Isn’t Created Equal?

Many recycling centers will not accept plastic caps and lids because they are made of a different type of plastic than the containers we all recycle. When the plastics are mixed they contaminate one another and this affects the overall value of the material; caps and lids can also jam processing equipment. “I have collection bins at many local businesses and I also receive pick-up requests from local residents via social media. Once I receive my first goal amount of 500 pounds, I will then sort, wash, and bundle all the caps and lids. At that point, I will place an order for the benches with a company located in Indiana; the company chips down all of the plastic collected and molds it into 8’-long benches. The last step is dropping off the caps and lids to the facility and picking up the benches. The benches will be placed in our Winston-Salem parks,” Caden stated. So…how can the community help?

Chip in for a Good Cause

Caden’s partnership with local businesses and residents in the collection process has been very positive, as well as getting the message out about this project. “The community support has been tremendous! Collection bins are scattered throughout our community. I frequently stop by and pick up what’s been collected. I will continue this project until I head off to college next fall. I would really love to see this project evolve into a Winston-Salem city-wide project that will grow and continue to add benches throughout our community. I would love people to see these benches and know they were a part of creating them,” commented Caden.

For more information, follow Caden on his Facebook group Lids to Benches or Instagram @lidstobenches or e-mail him at


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