The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (the Authority) sponsored its first Plastic Film Recycling Challenge for local schools in an effort to promote and educate youth and the community on proper recycling of plastic grocery bags and other plastic film, which cannot be recycled through regular curbside recycling programs.
In 2009, New York State’s Plastic Bag Reduction, Reuse and Recycling Act went into effect. The law states that stores within 10,000 square feet or more of retail space and chains which operate five or more stores with greater than 5,000 square feet of retail space, and which provide plastic carry out bags to customers, are required to establish an in-store film plastic recycling program and ensure that collected film plastics are recycled.
“When residents place plastic film in their recycling bin, it contaminates acceptable recyclables and causes mechanical problems at the Recycling Center,” stated Authority Recycling Educator Jamie Tuttle. “We encourage residents to utilize the plastic film recycling programs provided by retailers across the region,” she continued.
Twelve schools participated in the Plastic Film Recycling Challenge and had six weeks to collect plastic film for recycling. Participating schools partnered with local grocery stores and delivered the plastic film directly to them for proper recycling. The initiative focuses on collecting clean, dry, plastic film to keep it out of our region’s landfill.
With the efforts of these schools combined, just under 3,000 pounds of plastic film was collected for recycling in 6 weeks – that is the equivalent of recycling almost 200,000 plastic grocery bags.
Below are the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place schools in each category.
1st Place: McConnellsville Elementary School (Camden CSD)With 290 students, McConnellsville Elementary School collected 641.5 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 2.21 pounds per student.
2nd Place:Westmoreland Elementary SchoolWith 324 students, Westmoreland Elementary School collected 486 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 1.5 pounds per student.
3rd Place: Sauquoit Valley Elementary SchoolWith 451 students, Sauquoit Valley Elementary School collected 563.1 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 1.25 pounds per student.
The Authority would also like to commend Camden Elementary School, Ridge Mills Elementary School (Rome CSD) and Poland Elementary School for their efforts in this Challenge!
1st Place: Mount Markham Middle SchoolWith 351 students, Mount Markham Middle School collected 348.5 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals .99 pounds per student.
2nd Place: Adirondack Middle School With 258 students, Adirondack Middle School collected 120 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 0.47 pounds per student.
3rd Place: Sauquoit Valley Middle SchoolWith 297 students, Sauquoit Valley Middle School collected 101 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 0.34 pounds per student.
The Authority would also like to commend Camden High School, Clinton Middle/High School and Whitesboro Middle School for their efforts in this Challenge!
McConnellsville Elementary School will be awarded presentations from the Utica “Zoomobile” and Mount Markham Middle School will be awarded appearances from KISS FM DJs.
The following items cannot be placed in your curbside recycling bin, but can be recycled at participating grocery stores and other retailers:
- Grocery Bags
- Bread Bags
- Case Overwrap
- Dry Cleaning Bags
- Newspaper Sleeves
- Ice Bags
- Wood Pellet Bags
- Ziploc and other reclosable bags
- Produce bags
- Bubble wrap
- Salt bags
- Cereal Bags
If you are unable to deliver your plastic film for proper recycling, please place plastic film in your regular garbage for disposal.
For more information about the Authority’s Go Green School Recycling Program, please contact Jamie Tuttle, Recycling Educator, at (315) 733-1224 ext. 2300 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on recycling and waste disposal, visit www.ohswa.org. You may also ask questions and find information on the Authority’s Facebook page (Oneida Herkimer Solid Waste Authority).