Recycle Bowl Winners Announced; Winning School Recycles Almost 50 Pounds per Student!

The winners of the second annual Recycle Bowl have been announced, with Taylor Primary School in Kokomo, Ind. taking first prize in the nationwide recycling competition for elementary-, middle- and high-school students. Taylor Primary took home $4,500 in prize money for recycling 47 pounds of waste per child, topping a list of more than 1,500 participating schools.

The Recycle Bowl, which challenged students to recycle as much as possible between Oct. 15 and Nov. 9, 2012, was put on by nonprofit Keep America Beautiful and sponsored by Nestlé Waters North America. 4.5 million pounds of recyclables were recovered during the competition, preventing the equivalent of nearly 1,717 metric tons of carbon from being released.

"Starting with preschool, our students are introduced to the importance of recycling." said Teri Stokes, principal of Taylor Primary. "Recycling comes naturally. It's just part of our everyday routine at school."

"Growing up in the habit of recycling makes a difference," agreed Mikki Jeffers, recycling district director of Howard County, where Taylor Primary is located. "The kids that started with our first program as fourth graders are now seniors in high school, and they're still recycling. And they have taught their families in the process."

Recycling has been on a gradual upswing nationwide since the practice was heavily reintroduced in the 1970s. In 1970, the recycling rate was 6.6 percent nationwide, according to the EPA. In 2010, that figure jumped to 34.1 percent.

Despite the increase in recycling, however, recycling rates are failing to keep pace with the rate at which municipal solid waste is generated. Each American generates more than one additional pound of municipal solid waste every single day compared with 1970, underscoring the need for greater education about the importance of recycling.

The Recycle Bowl is as much about educating students on the importance of recycling as it is about diverting waste from landfills. By targeting students, Keep America Beautiful hopes to instill the importance of waste management to young people whose environmental values are still being formed.

"Recycle-Bowl provides teachers with a great opportunity to integrate math, science and sustainability lessons into classroom curricula through experiential education as well as a way to introduce recycling into a school's general operations," said Matt McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful.

McKenna traveled to Kokomo last week to present the award to Taylor Primary in person. Also in attendance was Heidi Paul, vice president of corporate affairs at Nestlé Waters North America.

"Nestlé Waters North America is delighted that Recycle-Bowl's second year has achieved such significant growth with a 25 percent increase in participating schools and nearly 1 million students receiving further education about the importance of recycling," said Paul. "The increase in the number of schools using Recycle-Bowl as a way to start a school recycling program demonstrates its value."

Last year, in the competition's inaugural run, Marshall Christian Academy in Albertville, Ala., where students recycled 41 pounds of waste per child. Taylor Primary topped that figure by over six pounds per child.

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