Rome Catholic School came in first place among elementary schools and Remsen Junior-Senior High among middle and high schools in the third annual Plastic Film Recycling Challenge, the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority announced.
The 104 students at Rome Catholic collected 375 pounds of plastic film for recoiling during the five weeks of the 2018 challenge, or 3.61 pounds per student. For the victory, Rome Catholic gets a visit from the Utica Zoo Zoomobile. Remsen Junior-Senior High gets a visit from KISS FM deejays.
The collection challenge was intended to draw attention to recycling of plastic film, which cannot be recycled through the regular curbside recycling program.
The average American family uses 1,500 single-use plastic bags each year, and only 12 percent are recycled, according to the authority. In all 100 billion single-use plastic bags were used nationwide in 2014.
A 2009 New York law mandated retailers of a certain size take such bags back because they can be recycled with special techniques, such as into plastic building lumber. But for waste collectors such as the solid waste authority, bags and other plastic film cause significant problems, from collecting rainwater and snow when they’re left in collection bins, to making a mess of the sorting process and marketability of recyclable material.
In the challenge, 19 participating schools collected film and delivered it to local stores for proper recycling. In all, nearly 6,000 pounds of film was collected, the equivalent of almost 400,000 plastic grocery bags.
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 and cereal bags
A list of participating retailers is at www.ohswa.org.
Otherwise, plastic film must go into the regular garbage for disposal.
Here’s a rundown of other participating schools: 2nd Place: Sauquoit Valley Elementary School: 2.11 pounds per student; 3rd Place: Bradley Elementary School in New Hartford: 1.44 pounds per student.
Also taking part were E.R. Hughes Elementary in New Hartford, Boonville Elementary School, Camden Elementary School, Myles Elementary School, Poland schools and Stokes Elementary School.
Among middle and high schools: 1st Place: Remsen Jr/Sr High School: With 176 students, Remsen collected 404 pounds of plastic film for recycling. This equals 2.3 pounds per student; 2nd Place: Adirondack Middle: 1.87 pounds per student; and 3rd Place: Whitesboro Middle: 0.44 pounds per student.
The Authority would also like to thank Camden High School, Clinton Middle/High School, Jarvis Middle School, Madison-Oneida BOCES, New Hartford High School, Rome Free Academy and Strough Middle School of Rome for excellent participation.