Eisenhower — well, the Earth — wins third Trex Challenge

For the third year district schools competed in the Trex Challenge.

Eisenhower students, families, and staff collected one-third of the total amount of plastic collected for this year’s challenge.

“As we began our new year of collection, Eisenhower students, families, staff, and community members had 33 bags ready to be weighed on Nov. 15. The total for these bags was 316.27 pounds,” said Eisenhower teacher Karen Donovall. “Our school was at 1/3 of the total amount collected for the whole 2016-2017 school year.”

The challenge — to collect as much plastic film items as possible for recycling — begins on Nov. 15 each year and ends on April 15 of the following year. The five-month challenge pits schools nationally against one another to collect as many plastic grocery bags, bread bags, zipper baggies, case overwrap, drycleaning bags, bubble wrap, cereal bags, and other plastic film material as possible.

School volunteers must weigh and record the amount of plastic collected monthly, as well as to report collected amounts on the Trex website. The Trex company makes composite decking and benches out of recycled plastic, and the grand prize for the school that collects the most plastic is a Trex bench and every school earns a participation award, also made from Trex materials.

Donovall said that students received ample community support again this year, with Tractor Supply in Warren donating 528 pounds of plastic, Tops donating 66.13 pounds, and Blair kicking in 717 pounds of unused garment plastic that would otherwise have gone to landfills. “The plastic needed to be removed from the plastic poles or cardboard centers before recycling,” said Donovall, “so fourth through sixth graders enjoyed rolling them down the hall.” Dollar General donated a total of 39 pounds of plastic, and “another parent working at the Old Navy in Jamestown offered to bring plastic down to the school. She was able to give us 160 pounds,” Donovall said.

White “marshmallow bale” hay wrappers were again a large contributor to the year’s collection total – 3,547 pounds of plastic in total. “Mr. Smith, (Eisenhower) head custodian, made a special roller system to assist students with unrolling the bailing plastic,” said Donovall.

Even the winning school itself – Eisenhower – donated 58 pounds of plastic from its own coffers.

The total amount of plastic received, said Donovall, “is a great number reflective of the wonderful support that we have received from a strong community. From the prize money earned these two years we are planning on designing an outdoor learning lab to encourage and support writing, reading, and science curriculums. Special thanks are sent to Trex and Whirley companies,” Donovall said.

Whirley has been sponsoring the challenge for the past three years. The winning school in the district receives a $300 prize with which to continue their recycling efforts.