Ideas for reusing an empty liquid soap bottle earned a Pennsylvania woman a trip to a recycled castle in France last year, and plastics manufacturers are repeating the challenge this year.
A $3,000 top prize has been offered by the American Plastics Council in the National Plastics Reuse Contest, which seeks recycling ideas from contestants in a general competition and school contests in several age categories.
The challenge is to come up with 10 practical reuses for a single plastic item, such as a soft drink bottle, rings from a six-pack or a plastic grocery bag.
Last year, Mrs. C. Jane Berrone of Edwardsville, Pa., won a trip to a French castle now reused as an inn, for turning dish soap bottles into shoe trees, party shakers, holiday ornaments and other items. Judges picked her entry from a field of 1,000 contestants in the first such contest.
Prizes this year include $3,000 for the best 10 suggestions, $250 for each of 10 runners-up, and $2,000 for the single most original reuse idea. School categories, with $1,000 top prizes in each, include elementary, junior high school, high school and college.
The contest runs through Feb. 1. Entry rules and forms are available from the council through its World Wide Web computer site or a toll-free number, 1-800-777-9500.
-- Mike Vogel