Arkansas schools roll up sleeves for America Recycles Day 2011
Americans generate 250 million tons of trash each year, according to Keep America Beautiful (KAmB). Eighty percent of what we consume is recyclable, yet nationally, only 28 percent is diverted from landfills by recycling.
“In Arkansas, we do a little bit better, recycling 32 percent,” said Robert Phelps, director of Keep Arkansas Beautiful. “But each day we produce nearly nine pounds of personal waste. Each of us needs to accept personal responsibility by making a more conscious effort to reduce the amount of trash we generate by recycling.”
During November, organizations all over the nation will participate in recycling events as part of the Nov. 15 America Recycles Day. To encourage Arkansas students to take part in the action, several friendly recycling competitions for schools will be held.
Sponsored by the Can Manufacturers Institute, the Great American Can Roundup encourages schools to compete from Nov. 15, 2011, to April 22, 2012 (Earth Day). The competition is based on how many aluminum beverage cans individual students recycle. Besides giving students a hands-on opportunity to help the environment, this initiative awards $1,000 to the top recycling school in each state, as well as an additional $5,000 to the top recycling school nationwide.
Colleges interested in starting a recycling team in the spring can sign up for RecycleMania, a project of the College and University Recycling Council. The competition kicks off Feb. 5, 2012, and lasts for eight weeks. Students and professors can get involved in maintaining the beauty of their campuses and communities at RecycleMania.org.
“Recycling and keeping Arkansas clean and green are efforts we can easily make a part of our everyday lives,” Phelps said. “That is why it’s important for us to encourage students and schools in our state to join together for these recycling competitions to benefit the entire community and our environment.”
Some Arkansas schools are already taking the lead in recycling efforts. At least 11 Arkansas schools – all in the Van Buren School District – are already signed up for KAmB Recycle-Bowl. Recognized as the 2011 School District Recycler of the Year by the Arkansas Recycling Council, Van Buren is continuing its efforts to promote recycling through this competition.