Fall Branch students with their bench and birdhouse made from the recycled grocery bags they collected over a five-month period. (Contributed)
With help from the community and the Food City grocery store in Gray, Fall Branch School was recently awarded a Trex bench and birdhouse manufactured from its students’ prize winning collection of used grocery bags and other recyclable plastic film packaging.
Out of 424 schools nationwide that took part in Trex’s Bags to Benches contest, Fall Branch School was one of only four in Tennessee to meet the goal of collecting 10,000 recycled grocery bags to win the bench.
Together, the participating schools collected 130,395 pounds of plastic — approximately 9.8 million plastic grocery bags — that did not end up in landfills across the country.
Fall Branch School students recycled 109,050 bags in the competition, or more than 10 times the required goal.
Food City in Gray, which adopted Fall Branch School early in the school year to help advance the students’ environmental studies, assisted in the drive by inviting shoppers and the community to drop off used plastic grocery bags at the store to be recycled by the students.
The Bags to Benches contest kicked off on National Recycling Day, Nov. 15, 2013, and ran through April 21. The winning schools were announced by Trex on Earth Day, April 22.
The contest was one of a series of green projects at Fall Branch School initiated by the Food City store to help the students learn more about recycling.
Emily Parton, human relations coordinator for the store, expressed her appreciation to everyone who chipped in used grocery bags to help the school and the Earth.
“I want the community to know that without their help Fall Branch School may not have been able to win the bench,” she said.
While everyone at Fall Branch School chipped in on the drive, the project was led by the school’s younger classes.
Second-grade teacher Kathy Huff said her students took the project and their other green lessons to heart, talked to the parents about what they had leaned and did not allow anyone to throw away anything they could take to school and recycle.
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