Bag Blog

It's all about recycling The Bag for 16 State College Area schools

Recycling plastic bags is pretty elementary stuff, right? So simple in fact, 16 schools in Pennsylvania’s State College Area School District are showing us how.

And they’re doing it in a very competitive way.

Called A Bag’s Life Competition, it started on Valentine’s Day 2014, and kicked off with a whole lotta love for Mother Earth. (And a ton of unexpected snow.)

The contest challenges students to collect as many plastic bags and plastic wraps as possible for recycling. On Earth Day, which is April 22, the winning school will be named.

Every single school will be rewarded with a Trex bench made from 10,000 recycled plastic bags! And all will receive a birdhouse made from — you guessed it — recycled plastic bags and wraps.

The winning school gets bragging rights, enough Trex lumber to make a raised garden bed, $50 in “seed” money and compost to help their garden grow.

Both Weis Markets and the Trex Company, which is tallying the winning results, donated all the benches. Lowe’s Home Improvement is kicking in the lumber and the Boy Scouts will build the raised garden bed.

Weis Choice Compost, made from recycled food scraps and organic waste generated from Weis Markets, will fill the garden bed.

The Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority and Centre Region Council of Governments organized the challenge, and are hopeful that this contest will get the word out that folks need to recycle their plastic bags and wraps at retail stores, not in their curbside bin.

Now that’s what I call an all-in eco-educational project.

Mimi Joy Cooper, with the Centre Region Council of Governments, has been coordinating the event while Amy Schirf, education coordinator for Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority, conducted school presentations.

“You can’t just toss bags into a curbside recycling bin,” said Mimi. “It’s really a matter of training us all to take plastic bags and plastic wraps back when we shop at the store. Most retail stores have bins designated for recycling bags. We just need to remember to do it, and there‘s no better way to learn than through our children.”

Amy is so happy with the participation by the schools and sponsors, she can’t contain her enthusiasm.

“This really is exciting! We are up to 600 pounds of bags in the first two weeks of collection and it’s showing no signs of slowing down,” she said.

The plastic bags collected by the schools will be taken to local Weis Markets, which has been a huge partner with A Bag’s Life since Pennsylvania signed on as a sponsor nearly three years ago.

During the first week of the program, the schools collected 241 pounds of plastic bags, Mimi said, despite a few snow days thrown into the mix. To keep the competition fair, Trex uses a per-student measurement to choose the winner instead of taking the total weight per school.

Participating schools include:
CLC Charter School
Corl Street Elementary
Easterly Parkway Elementary
Ferguson Township Elementary
Friends School
Goddard School
Gray’s Woods Elementary
Houserville Elementary
Lemont Elementary
Mt. Nittany Elementary
Nittany Christian School
Nittany Valley Charter School
Our Lady of Victory Catholic School
Park Forest Elementary
Radio Park Elementary
Young Scholars Charter School