Schools students hope contest is in the bag

Sue Guinn Legg • Feb 20, 2014 at 10:17 AM

To promote recycling and the importance of going green, students at Fall Branch School have teamed up with Food City in a grocery bag recycling challenge.

If the students can collect 10,000 used grocery bags or other plastic film packages by April 15 they’ll be rewarded with a Trex park bench for their school manufactured from recycled plastic. Winning schools in the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge will be announced by on Earth Day, April 22.

The project is being conducted in partnership with the Food City store in Gray, where everyone is invited to donate their used plastic shopping bags to help the school and the earth through the duration of the contest.

Emily Parton, human relations coordinator for the store, said the challenge is the latest in a series of green projects initiated last fall when the store adopted Fall Branch School to help students learn more about recycling.

At the Nov. 15 observation of National Recycling Day, Food City enlisted the school’s eighth-grade students in a “What Does Recycling Mean to Me” poster competition and awarded prizes to the three most creative. Parton said the recycling challenge was been geared more toward the school’s younger students, although everyone at the school is chipping in.

Beginning in January, recycling bins were placed throughout the school and students, teachers and staff have since been filling them up by bag full.

“It doesn’t take long at all to fill, just a day or two and they’re all full,” school secretary Tammy Herron said.

Second-grade teacher Kathy Huff said her students are excited about the project and are taking their go green lessons to heart. “The kids are talking to the parents about what they’ve leaned and they’re not letting them throw away anything they can take to school and recycle.”

Parton said the idea is that by reusing and recycling plastic bags, students can help reduce litter, prevent pollution and save natural resources.

Trex keep millions of plastic grocery store bags out of landfills annually by using them to create its composite lumber product, she said. The company’s school bench challenge not only helps students learn to recycle, it rewards them for their efforts and fosters partnerships between their schools and their communities.

“The faculty and students love this recycling project and are trying really hard to win the bench,” Parton said. “We are thankful to Mr. (Howard) Henson, Fall Branch principal, for partnering up with us and allowing us to work with the students by doing different activities this school year.”

In addition to plastic shopping bags, newspaper sleeves, dry-cleaning bags, bread bags, sandwich bags, produce bags, ice bags and plastic film wrap used to package paper towels, toilet paper and other common products can all be donated to help the school in its recycling quest.

All donations made at the school or the Food City store must be clean, dry and free of any food residue.

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