Wouldn't you love if your kids could have access to a playground made entirely of used toothbrushes and old floss containers?

It's actually not as gross as it sounds. In fact, there's a multi-state contest underway in which such a playground is the top prize. And right now, a few New Jersey schools are in the lead.

The contest, sponsored by Colgate, ShopRite and TerraCycle, gives "credits" to participating schools that send in their recyclable oral waste, such as toothpaste tubes and mouthwash containers. Schools can also earn points with every vote they receive online.

Hawthorne Elementary School in Willingboro had been in the lead for a while but slipped to second place in the past couple weeks.

Hawthorne Elementary
A display at Hawthorne Elementary School in Willingboro reminds parents to collect recylable oral care waste. (Photo provided by Luann Doyle)

The school's efforts are run by volunteer Luann Doyle, who spends hours sorting through recyclables each day with students.

"My goal is always to be there in first place," Doyle said. "I'm not sure if we're going to get there."

It'll be a major feat if the school manages a victory. Catherine Doyle Elementary School in Wood-Ridge has an extremely healthy lead right now.

According to Cheri Ottevaere, president of the Wood-Ridge Public Education Foundation, the school has been extra motivated this year after finishing in second place last year.

"We are so confident that we're going to win this because we have so much support from our community," Ottevaere said. "Right now the kids don't have a playground at all."

The school with the most credits on June 12 will get the playground worth approximately
$50,000. Smaller prizes are also awarded to schools that finish in second through ninth place.

As of late Wednesday, New Jersey schools made up half of the contest's top 10. If the contest ended today, East Amwell Township School in Ringoes, Noor-UI-Iman School in Monmouth Junction and Taunton School in Howell would all be in line for prizes.

The contest is open to schools in six states.

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