CHAZY — Students at Chazy Central Rural School are trying now more than ever to keep recyclable materials out of district trash cans.
As a participant in this year’s Recycle Bowl, the school not only stands to help the environment by amping up its recycling efforts but also to win money.
Sponsored by Keep America Beautiful Inc. and Nestlé Waters North America, the Recycle Bowl is a national competition that challenges schools to see how much they can recycle in a four-week period.
When the competition ends on Nov. 9, the school in each state that collects the most weight in recyclable materials per capita will receive $1,000 toward continuing and enhancing its recycling program.
In addition, a national winner will be chosen from the state champs to receive $2,500.
“We’re already recycling, but we just thought it might kind of encourage the kids to recycle more, kind of get them enthusiastic about it,” said Kathryn Brown, faculty adviser to Chazy High School’s Recycling Club.
The club, comprising students in grades seven through 12, and the Elementary School Recycling Club, for grades four through six, are leading the district’s efforts to place first out of the 25 schools in the state competing in the contest.
“They’re kind of the cheerleaders, so to speak, for the rest of the school,” Brown said.
HELP FROM CASELLA
Assisting CCRS with its recycling mission is Casella Waste Services, which has donated a giant receptacle to the school to store recyclables for the length of the contest. Casella will weigh the contents of the bin at the end of the competition.
“We came in and just made it easier for them to participate in the program,” said Casella Account Manager Melissa LaClair.
In addition, Casella provides the school with Zero-Sort Recycling services and free recycling bins for the interior of the school on a regular basis.
“There are blue recycle bins in every single room of the building,” Brown said.
When the Recycle Bowl began last week, Recycling Club members spoke during the school’s morning announcements, encouraging their classmates to recycle and sharing information about the benefits of doing so.
“I always felt that the environment was really important, and protecting it is one of my main goals,” said Maeghan McDonald, a junior and club member, “so I think it’s great how this company created this competition, so we can be motivated not only to win the money but to recycle and help others recycle.”
Both of the clubs are responsible for emptying all of the school’s recycling bins each week and transporting their contents to the large Casella receptacle in the school parking lot.
“I think we have a greater awareness as a result of doing the competition, and, of course, the kids are excited to see how much weight we actually collect,” Brown said.
Though the recycling clubs have been in existence only since last school year, they have already made strides toward creating a greener environment at Chazy Central.
“We recycle way more than we throw away as a school, which is great,” McDonald said.
“I mean, just in one year, we’ve been able to accomplish that.”
The school won’t find out until after Christmas how it placed in the Recycle Bowl, Brown said, but there really are no losers in such a contest.
“It’s more of an awareness competition than anything else,” she said.
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