UP FOR THE CHALLENGE — Items like plastic film grocery bags and sandwich bags can’t be put out with the curbside recyclables — but they can be recycled. The items are among those that are part of a recycling challenge for schools from the Oneida Herkimer Solid Waste Authority. (Illustration submitted)

Schools invited to participate in recycling challenge

Published Oct 12, 2017 at 4:00pm

A 2017 Plastic Film Recycling Challenge for schools will be Nov. 15-Dec. 22, said the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority, which is sponsoring it in conjunction with Trex Company.

The deadline for schools to register is Nov. 1, by contacting authority Director of Recycling Emily Albright at 315-733-1224 ext. 1600 or by email at emilya@ohswa.org

The initiative focuses on collecting clean, dry, plastic film in order to keep it out of the region’s landfill.

The contest is an effort to
promote and educate youth and the community on proper recycling of plastic grocery bags and other plastic film, said the authority.

The challenge is open to all public and private K-12 school buildings in Oneida and Herkimer counties.

The entire building must participate. Schools will be divided into elementary and middle/high school categories, and they
will compete to collect the
highest amount of plastic film per capita.

Among items that cannot be placed in curbside recycling bins, but can be recycled through the challenge as well as at local grocery stores:

  • 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; and
  • Cereal bags.

“We are asking local schools in the Oneida-Herkimer region to take action to collect plastic film for proper recycling,” said Albright.

“This will allow it to be recovered for recycling into brand new items and divert it from being sent to the regional landfill,”Albright added.

She also said “we encourage residents to utilize the plastic film recycling programs provided by retailers across the region.”

Stores that meet certain square footage requirements and provide plastic carryout bags to customers are required to establish in-store plastic recycling programs.

Last year, 12 local schools participated in the authority’s Plastic Film Recycling Challenge, collecting nearly 3,000 pounds of plastic film.

The winning elementary school will be awarded presentations from the Utica “Zoomobile.” The winning Middle/High School will be awarded appearances from KISS FM DJs.