Plastic Bag Collection Events Tip the Scales on America Recycles Day

Plastic bag recycling took on an educational and festive flair in schools, village squares, college campuses and retail store parking lots during America Recycles Day 2011, as community groups in 35 states embraced the message that plastic bags should not be treated like trash. In all, more than 130 plastic bag collection activities were held to celebrate the annual event sponsored by Keep America Beautiful and aimed at raising public awareness to reduce, reuse and recycle throughout the year.
The America Recycles Day celebrations ranged from school-wide collection competitions to craft fairs showcasing items made from reused plastic bags and earth patrols promoting sustainability. In addition, “Caught in the Act” collection events were held in five states that have adopted the A Bag’s Life public-private program that encourages greater recycling of plastic bag and wraps.  Pennsylvania became the latest state to join A Bag’s Life on Nov. 15, officially America Recycles Day.
“It was exciting to see the enthusiasm with which our local America Recycles Day event organizers across the country embraced plastic bag collections and educational events,” said Brenda Pulley, vice president recycling programs for Keep America Beautiful. “Recycling plastic bags makes sense and is one action consumers can take to protect our environmental resources. Plus, it is such an easy thing to do, you just have to remind people that they can take them back to a nearby store that recycles.”
Nationwide, the recycling of plastic bags and wraps is on the rise, with more than 855 million pounds recycled in 2009—a 31 percent increase since 2005.
A Bag’s Life and its thought-provoking monikers “Don’t Treat Me Like Trash” and “Gimme A Second Chance” were a big hit in Cambria Heights Elementary School in Carrolltown, Penn. Administrators there “carefully and lovingly” counted 40,141 plastic bags before declaring the collection contest an overwhelming success and ending it a week early.
“It was over-the-top invaluable for the students,” said Daria Wargo, school counselor a.k.a. Captain Recycle to students. “Parents, teachers, our local Walmart and county solid waste department were all on board to help. A Bag’s Life and its smiley face gave us the incentive we needed to get it going. Many of our lesson plans include the recycling message and we’ll continue to promote it throughout the school year.”

A Bag’s Life, also in full swing in Florida, Virginia, Texas and North Carolina, encourages consumers to additionally recycle other bags, like those used for dry cleaning, newspapers and bread, as well as wraps used on products like paper towels or bottled water. It includes an interactive and educational website ( and an app that pinpoints more than 10,000 drop-off sites by zip code.

A Bag’s Life congratulates the following organizations for their tremendous effort in educating consumers about plastic bag recycling:
White Oaks Elementary School PTA
 Keep West Baton Rouge Beautiful
 City of Tempe Recycles
 Burbank High School
 City of Tempe, Arizona
 Keep Cincinnati Beautiful
 Waste Reduction Resource Awareness Program
 Keep The Rez Beautiful
 David Lipscomb Elementary School
 City of Newport
 Keep Lexington Beautiful
 Keep Lincoln Parish Beautiful
 Timber Point Elementary School
 Cambria Heights Elementary School
 J.A. Garcia ES/ Green Team
 Kilohana Elementary School
 Keep Port Aransas Beautiful
 Keep Kingsport Beautiful
 Binghamton Recycling
 The International School at Mesa del Sol
 Iowa DNR Green Team
 Chaparral Elementary School
 Westowne Elementary School
Edgewood Colesburg Cub Scouts
 Grafflin Elementary
 City of Hutto - Green Committee
 City of Omaha Recreation Department - Florence Community Center
 General Services Administration
 Jobs For Georgia Graduates Career Association
 Bloom High School
 Zion Lutheran School
 Worden Community Service Club
 Campbell County's Mayor Office
 Westmoreland Cleanways
 Hampton Roads Planning Dist. Comm.
 SRA International
 Rochester Area School District
 McBride Elementary
 Keep Troup Beautiful
 Yolo County
 Cuero Intermediate School
 Brushy Creek MUD
 Flat Rock Elementary School
 Native Village of Old Harbor
 Camp Creek Earth Patrol
 Scioto County Soil and Water Conservation District
 City of Phoenix Public Works Department
 Clermont County Board of DD
 Anna's Daughter
 La Porte County Solid Waste District
 City of Kimmswick, Missouri 63053
 Deland High School Eco Club
 City of Flagstaff Sustainability Program
 US District Court
 Annistown Elementary
 Student Advocates for Earth (s.a.f.e)
 Pride In McAlester
 Quality Cleaners
 Brentwood Elementary School PTO
 Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful and Quality Cleaners
 Whitson Elementary School
 Douglas Jamerson Elementary School
 Booz Allen Hamilton
 Stephens County High School - Preservation of the Reservation
 Tri-County CleanWays
 Kimball Elementary School
 Keep Baytown Beautiful/City of Baytown Health Department
 DD Eisenhower Elementary School
Keep Lexington Beautiful
 Keep Greenville Beautiful
 GE Healthcare
 Eastman Chemical Company
 West Point Family and MWR
 Chrysler Group, LLC
 Haw Creek Elementary School
 City of Mansfield
 Wilburton Rising
 In Harmony Community Club
 Sustainability OIT
 Berkmar APES
 Salt Lake City
 Otto  Environmental Systems North America, Inc.
 BBA Daisy & Brownies Scouts
 TeamHealth Midwest
 The Goddard School
 Oregon State University Campus Recycling
 Klockner PTA
 Clorox Services Company
 Buffalo Community Middle School
 Landstar System, Inc
 Keep York Co. Beautiful-Penn State Extension
 Student Volunteers
 Naifeh's Food Markets
 Barbara Bush Elementary
 City of Flagstaff Sustainability Program
 UMF Dining & SCC
 Stanton Elementary School
Frito-Lay-Green Team
 FIS Green Team
 Greene County Career Center
 American Transmission Company
 Gainesville Children's Center
 Tatanka Elementary School
 Ann Arbor Learning Community
 St John the Baptist School
 Students for Humanity
 Dunwoody Elementary School
 David City Public Schools
 Alain L. Locke Magnet School for Environmental Stewardship
Bucks County Conservation District
 Pine Bush Elementary
 Maple Lake Elementary
 Mission Hill Health Movement
 Mohawk Elementary
 Danville FCCLA Chapter
 Cook Wissahickon School
 Green Iowa Americorps
 Upper Sioux Community
 Key Biscayne Presbyterian Church School
 Emerald City
 Closed Loop Recycling
 Ascension Catholic School
 Keep Lancaster County Beautiful

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