With the school year almost at an end, Keep Bartow Beautiful wants to cap off a busy Great American Cleanup spring season with the announcement of the 2014-15 School Recycling Contest winners. Twenty-six schools collected 423,080 pounds of cans, bottles, cardboard boxes and mixed paper, according to Executive Director Sheri Henshaw.
“This has been a really busy season for our office, and I am behind in my reporting for school recycling. I try to get that out around Earth Day in April. But we finally have the results.”
Elementary School Division winners were again Euharlee Elementary, with an incredible 80,060 pounds. With 592 students, that represents 135.2 pounds per student. Monday, May 11 will be awards day for the school as Wildlife Wonders, Cleveland, GA will visit the campus with a wildlife show focused on recycling to protect wildlife habitat. Keep Bartow Beautiful will be there to present the 30 members of the school’s student council, who have taken on the recycling program as their mission, with Great American Cleanup t-shirts and other items. And the fifth graders, old hands at this for a few years, will again get their reward for all their hard work—holding a giant boa constrictor, something that has become a school tradition of sorts.
Second Place and $300.00 goes to Mission Road Elementary, with a total of 31,680 pounds, 502 students, 63.1 pounds per student. And White Elementary, with 548 students recycling 28,980 pounds, or 52.9 pounds per student, came in third, and will receive $200.00. Awards of Merit of $100.00 each go to Allatoona Elementary, (17,100 pounds, 465 students, 36.8 pounds per student), and Adairsville Elementary (21,500 pounds, 700 students, 30.7 pounds per student.)
Middle-High School winner was again Cass Middle School, with 33,420 pounds, 971 students, and 34.4 pounds per student. They will receive $500.00. Those vying to unseat them, but falling just shy of the big win, were South Central Middle School in second place, winning $300.00 (19,540 pounds, 638 students, 30.6 pounds per student) and Cass High School, receiving a third place $200.00 award (41,220 pounds, 1,559 students, 26.4 pounds per student.). Woodland Middle School received a $100.00 Award of Merit (18,600 pounds, 841 students, 22.1 pounds per student.)
In Other, Excel Academy won the top prize of $500.00 (15,700 pounds, 204 students, 77 pounds per student.)
The contest features three divisions, Elementary, Middle-High, and Other, for private schools and other school sites. Winners are determined by the total pounds of recycling collected between the beginning of the school year in August for teachers and the final count day of March 31. That number is then divided by pounds per student, to put everyone on a more even footing, so that larger schools can successfully compete against smaller ones. Pounds per student tallies determine the winner placement.
“Every year presents challenges,” said Henshaw. This year, the U.S. Green Building Council, Georgia Chapter, headquartered in Atlanta, contacted us on the recommendation of members of the Georgia Recycling Coalition. Our ongoing school recycling program, a partnership between Keep Bartow Beautiful, Bartow County Solid Waste, Bartow County School System, Cartersville City Schools, and Excel Academy, has been recognized on their website’s Green and Healthy Schools pages as their School Recycling Success Story, and Keep Bartow Beautiful serves as a resource contact for other schools trying to start a school recycling program at their facilities.
“We also faced challenges early in the year with county operations, including the installation of a new pick line for paper and cardboard, as well as a new baler for the county’s recycling hub,” said Henshaw. “We had to hold up collections for a few weeks, although we tried to keep it to a minimum. Still, it did disrupt our flow a little at the beginning, when programs are usually picking up steam. Collections were down some as a result. Now, with the new equipment in place, we should move forward smoothly next year.”
Henshaw added that some schools, such as Hamilton Crossing, were in the midst of construction, and asked to hold off for that time. Others, such as Emerson Elementary and Cartersville High, have regrouped and requested additional supplies, which won’t make an impact until next school year.
“All the programs are voluntary, and each one’s success depends on the level of interest and involvement of key people in the schools—a teacher championing the program, the principal providing solid support, and a student team of some kind promoting the program on campus and doing the actual pickups, usually weekly. Involvement of custodial, administrative, and teaching staff, interested parents, and the surrounding community is encouraged, but principals have the final say in shaping their levels of involvement.”
Recycling infrastructure is a critical component of school recycling success. Henshaw provides bins, as budget and her schedule will allow, on long-term loan, to schools in need. Since 2005, when the contest started, she has provided thousands of bins to the local schools, which the lead teachers inventory annually at the end of the school year, store away safely for the summer, then hand out at the beginning of the next school year. Bartow County Solid Waste provides a recycling dumpster on campus, and hauls the materials, at no charge.
“We calculated last year that if each school utilized our free program, recycling all they could, the resulting savings from waste hauling could equal the salaries of two additional teachers. Our free school field trips to the landfill and recycling center help the students and teachers see the real value of recycling. As a billion-dollar industry in Georgia, creating jobs and manufactured products for Georgians, recycling is more than just saving trees. “
The final school totals follow:
ELEMENTARY DIVISION POUNDS PER STUDENT* AWARD
Adairsville Elementary 21,500 pounds 30,7 pounds per student MERIT $100
Allatoona Elementary 17,100 pounds 36.8 pounds per student MERIT $100
Cartersville Elementary 9680 pounds 9.8 pounds per student
Cartersville Primary 12,320 pounds 13.9 pounds per student
Clear Creek Elementary 5,440 pounds 9.3 pounds per student
Cloverleaf Elementary 12,540 pounds 16.5 pounds per student
Emerson Elementary 1,500 pounds 3.4 pounds per student
Euharlee Elementary 80,060 pounds 135.2 pounds per student FIRST-Wildlife Show
Hamilton Crossing 5,320 pounds 9.0 pounds per student
Kingston Elementary 3,180 pounds 6.0 pounds per student
Mission Road 31,680 pounds 63.1 pounds per student SECOND-$300
Pine Log Elementary 8,900 pounds 21.6 pounds per student
Taylorsville Elementary 3,920 pounds 7.2 pounds per student
White Elementary 28,980 pounds 52.9 pounds per student THIRD-$200
MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL POUNDS PER STUDENT * AWARD
Adairsville High 9780 pounds 10 pounds per student
Adairsville Middle 12,400 pounds 17.8 pounds per student
Cartersville High 5,720 pounds 5 pounds per student
Cartersville Middle 15,920 pounds 15.6 pounds per student
Cass High 41,220 pounds 26.4 pounds per student THIRD-$200
Cass Middle 33,420 pounds 34.4 pounds per student FIRST-$500
South Central Middle 19,540 pounds 30.6 pounds per student SECOND-$300
Woodland High 11,520 pounds 6.8 pounds per student
Woodland Middle 18,600 pounds 22.1 pounds per student MERIT-$100
OTHER POUNDS PER STUDENT* AWARD
Excel Academy 15,700 pounds 77 pounds per student $500
Bartow Board of Ed. 13,680 pounds n/a n/a
Bartow College and
Career Academy 4,960 pounds students counted at school of residence
*All pounds per student based on Ga. Dept. of Education Oct. 2014 official FTE count. FTE counts the populations of Georgia Schools on a single day throughout the state.