PHILADELPHIA – As Mayor Michael Nutter has so often said, recycling is the law. Many people are still learning every resident, business, and institution in the county is required to recycle. Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, the local affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, teaches individuals how to improve their neighborhood environment with a carrot rather than a stick. When it comes to recycling, this initiative applies rewards specially created for young students.
Local students, who recently jumped into a 2-week recycling contest, recycled 1,000 pounds of paper and were justly rewarded on America Recycle Day. The Recycle-Bowl was a nationwide competition for elementary, middle, and high school students. Phoebe Coles, executive director of Keep Philadelphia Beautiful, organized the event here. She called on the Philadelphia Eagles and SCA, a global manufacturer of paper and hygiene products with headquarters for the Americas in Philadelphia. They responded with ample support.
“Keep Philadelphia Beautiful is doing a fantastic job of bringing,” stated Amy Bellcourt, SCA’s vice president of communications, “a recycling focus to the schools of Philadelphia. Kids, today, are very interested in the health of their planet, and we need to do everything we can to harness that enthusiasm by teaching them about the real things they can do to make a difference.”
The three winners of the local Recycle-Bowl showed making a difference is as easy as using blue recycle bins. Led by teacher Lauren Brittingham, the 1st grade class at James Ludlow Elementary took the elementary school prize for single stream collection. Teacher Kelley Williams’ 6th grade class at Global Leadership Academy won the middle school prize.
Third graders, led by teacher Laura Bahnck at St. Peter’s School, won the Plastic Bag Competition.
Almost 100 contest participants celebrated America Recycle Day at Lincoln Financial Field with the Philadelphia Eagles. Students met and played recycle games with Eagles players, cheerleaders, and Swoop, the team mascot. Adding to the festivities were $500 checks presented to the winning schools by Amy Bellcourt.
While the Recycle-Bowl does not exist for the rest of the city, residents can receive rewards on a weekly basis by clicking here to join Philadelphia Recycling Rewards or calling 888.769.7960 for more information. In this rewards program, neighbors using blue recycle bins for paper, cans and bottles on trash day gain points for a host of discounts across all types of products.
Keep Philadelphia Beautiful says 50 billion food and drink cans, 27 billion glass bottles and jars, and 65 million plastic and metal jars and can covers are discarded each year in America. Most, 85% of U.S. garbage end up in a dump or landfill. Space, however, is dwindling and the impact of clean-up on tax dollars is enormous.
Where individuals place recyclables will either extend the waste problem or reduce it. Something to consider as holiday gatherings regain steam and shopping kicks into high gear is disposing of waste responsibly.
Though city recycling does not accept plastic bags, for example, food stores and some drug stores around the area solve that problem with independent recycle bins for plastic bags. Visit www.keepphiladelphiabeautiful.org to learn more about recycling and other easy, green ways to reduce one’s environmental footprint while beautifying the city. The organization won the National Innovation Award this fall for its ingenius and collaborative approach to waste reduction and recycling. To sponsor a program, e-mail email@example.com or call 215.477.0255.
“Keeping Philadelphia Beautiful is” explains Executive Director Phoebe Coles, “a program that focuses on individual responsibility for the environment. There are lots of ways to get involved from being someone who takes up trash in your neighborhood to helping organize school programs. You could be involved with the Horticultural Society and help with gardening. Or, you could be involved with the Mural Arts program and help with murals. You could be involved with a civic association and do any number of projects. Between education and resource development for communities, we support all of those types of projects.”
At the state level, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org. The national website is www.kab.org.
All rights to this article are reserved by Gloria Blakely. Copyright 2011.