SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Franklin School Student Council is seeking to collect 260 pounds of recyclable plastic caps and lids for a playground ‘buddy bench.’ The bench, designed to eliminate loneliness and foster friendships, was proposed by Student Council Vice President Tyler Wnuk and will be dedicated in memory of former principal Nancy Erickson.

“We are hoping the South Plainfield community will help our ‘little people’ at Franklin School reach this very big goal,” said Sally Gillis, co-advisor of the student council. 

In an effort to reach its goal, the Franklin Student Council is seeking cap/lid donations from residents and is also in need of support from South Plainfield businesses, offices, organizations and/or restaurants; the bench will be made by Indiana-based Green Tree Plastics and 260 pounds of lids/caps is equivalent to about 60 large black trash bags. Any local establishment willing to help will receive a plastic bin along with a list strict list of acceptable caps/lids. 

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Additionally, caps/lids can be dropped off to the main office at Franklin School Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Donations can also be picked up by emailing Sally Gillis at or Jane Bishop at 

“Ms. Erickson instilled the value of friendship and compassion in her students and staff and we feel she would have loved the concept of a ‘buddy bench’ to help those in need,” said Gillis. “We want to honor her with this bench so that her dedication to the children of South Plainfield is never forgotten. We hope that the bench can help students to always be able find a friend and instill in our students that the only way to have a friend is to be a friend.” 

Erickson began her career as a physical education teacher and coach at South Plainfield High School (SPHS) in 1971 and during this time, established both a girls’ track and field and cross country team at SPHA. Over the course of her 34-year career with the district, Erickson also served as an assistant principal at SPHS and principal of Franklin Elementary where she established the school’s first Veteran’s Day program in 1994. She retired in 2005 and later returned to the district as an interim principal of Kennedy School. She passed away in September 2018. 

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Please note, only the plastic items noted as 'acceptable' below can be used:  

Acceptable Caps                                                                                Acceptable Lids

Medicine bottle caps                                                                             Yogurt lids

Drink bottle caps (soda, water, juice, sports drinks)                             Cottage cheese container lids

Milk jug caps                                                                                         Mayonnaise jar lids

Detergent caps                                                                                     Peanut butter jar lids

Hairspray caps                                                                                     Ice cream bucket lids (under 8”)

Toothpaste caps                                                                                   Cool Whip container lids

Deodorant caps                                                                                    Coffee can lids

Applesauce pouch caps                                                                       Cream cheese container lids

Flip-top caps (ketchup)                                                                         Butter container lids

Spout caps (mustard)                                                                           Pringles lids

Spray paint caps

Ointment tube caps

Baby food caps

Shampoo/conditioner caps


Never Acceptable 

Metal – ANY

Drink bottles 

Plastic bags (all sizes)

Trigger sprays

Fast food drink lids

Food container

Soap/lotion pumps

Medical supplies

Caps/lids with (1) (3) (6) or (7) recycle number