Elementary School Launches Effort To Recycle Plastic Grocery Bags

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The mountain of plastic in one corridor of Frontier Elementary School is not waste headed for the landfill, it is plastic grocery bags that, when recycled will earn the school money.

Wal-Mart will pay $5 for every 60-gallon bag of bags collected when the "Kids Recycling Challenge" ends March 30, 2007.

"So far, we have collected 1,000 pounds of bags," said FES computer lab teacher Marlene Armstrong.

First place in the state wins $3,000 plus a fun assembly. There are also monetary prizes for second, third and fourth place.

Students from each grade met with Armstrong three times in September to learn the value of recycling.

"We talked about the carbon intake and out-take then went on the computer to discover what it is," she said.

Once in the environment, it takes months to hundreds of years for the plastic bags to break down.

Yet according to the Film and Bag Federation, compared to paper bags, plastic ones use consume 40 percent less energy, generate 80 percent less solid waste, produce 70 percent fewer atmospheric emissions, and release up to 94 percent fewer water-borne wastes.

There have been monthly contests for the class that collected the most bags.

Trick or Treaters also asked for plastic bags while they were out asking for candy on Halloween. The winners had time off for a bag race, a cup stacking contest and extra time in the computer lab.

Drop off bags at Frontier Elementary School, 100 Frontier St. in Payson.

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