Bag Blog

Thousands of Plastic Bags Recycled by Students

Reported By: Gary Sinderson, Written by Marc Stempka
WJAC TV — 6 News
April 21, 2014

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- During the past few weeks, elementary school students from throughout the State College area of Centre County were battling it out to be the number one plastic bag recycling school in the area.

Students from Gray's Woods and Park Forest Elementary schools in the State College Area School District were honored Monday by officials with the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority for collecting the most plastic bags during the eight week challenge.

Students at Park Forest Elementary collected 1,497 pounds of plastic bags and Gray's Wood Elementary students collected the most bags per capita at 3.80 pounds per student.

In all, students from 16 State College area schools collected a total of 5,631 pounds of plastic bags, or approximately 360,384 bags.

"If you had Ziploc bags, potato bags, bread bags, newspaper sleeves, they can also be recycled, it's just not plastic grocery bags," Park Forest student Mariele Wassom said.

Officials said the amount of bags collected, if placed side-by-side, would wrap around the Beaver Stadium football field 273 times. In addition, the number of bags recycled saved 1,932 gallons of oil, 16 kilowatts of electricity, 276 million BTUs of energy and 84.6 cubic yards of landfill space.

"People would always call our office and say, 'Where can I bring my dry cleaning bag?' [and] we're like, 'Bring them to the grocery store,'" Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority Education Coordinator Amy Schrif said. "So now we're trying to get the word out, look, these are all the things grocery stores will take, so make sure you bring them back."

Each of the 16 participating schools will receive a Trex recycled plastic lumber park bench, which are made using 10,000 recycled plastic bags. Weis Markets and Trex are donating the benches.

"We're really happy that we were able to do this because each plastic bag does not weigh a pound, I'm really happy we have this," Wassom said.

Participating schools included CLC Charter School, Corl Street Elementary, Easterly Parkway Elementary, Ferguson Township Elementary, The State College 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 and The Young Scholars of Central PA Charter School.

The event was part of a nationwide recycling effort with 424 schools participating and collecting more than 131,000 pounds of plastic, or more than 9.7 million plastic bags.

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