HL Johnson Students Turn Trash Into Treasure – Town-Crier

Safety patrol students participate in the Trex program recycling effort.

The grass isn’t the only thing getting greener this spring, thanks to the students at H.L. Johnson Elementary School. Over the past six months, students collected and recycled a grand total of more than 2,365 pounds of polyethylene plastic as part of the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge, which concluded on Earth Day (April 22). This impressive total, combined with creative promotion and community engagement, earned the school top honors, along with a new eco-friendly bench for the school’s campus food forest.

Hosted by Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of high-performance, low-maintenance composite decking and outdoor living products, the nationwide challenge kicked off last fall on America Recycles Day (Nov. 15). Between that observance and Earth Day, K-12 students across the country competed to collect and recycle the most polyethylene plastic film for the chance to win Trex products for their schools. For the first time ever, students also had the chance to win cash prizes, thanks to corporate sponsor Charter Next Generation, one of the leading providers of specialty polyethylene films.

“The Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge put our students on a mission to collect as much recycled plastic film as they possibly could, proving a fantastic opportunity to connect and engage with our local community,” Principal Dr. Crystal Amado Kucharski said. “Each student had a lot of fun in the process, while learning a tremendous amount about the necessity and value of recycling. It was a phenomenal experience, and we are so proud of everyone’s efforts to make a positive difference within our school campus, as well as in our community.”

Students from 686 schools participated in the 2021-22 challenge and together collected a combined total of 323,586 pounds of polyethylene plastic film.

Started in 2007, the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge was conceived to educate students about upcycling and actively engage them in the recycling of plastic film, a key ingredient in the making of the Trex composite decking. Trex decking is made from 95 percent recycled and reclaimed materials, including a mix of industrial wood scrap and polyethylene plastic from a variety of common household items, such as grocery bags, newspaper sleeves and bubble wrap, as well as retail plastic waste from pallet wrap and industrial packaging. Each year, Trex upcycles nearly 400 million pounds of plastic waste otherwise destined for incineration or landfills, making it one of the largest recyclers of plastic film in North America. For more information about the recycling challenge, visit https://recycle.trex.com.