Students from six area schools are competing to see which can collect the most recyclable materials in the month before America Recycles Day.
Students from Rena, Butterfield, City Heights and King schools in Van Buren, and the Intermediate and Middle schools in Alma are working to bring in extra recyclables from Oct. 25 to Nov. 15 as part of Keep America Beautiful’s Recycle-Bowl.
Recycle-Bowl is a recycling competition for school-age kids, with more than 1,300 competing nationwide and at least 20 competing in Arkansas.’
John Pope, Keep Arkansas Beautiful commissioner for the area, encouraged schools to sign up and encouraged competition between them.
With six schools signed up to compete, throughout the state Crawford County has the highest number of schools competing in one county and Van Buren has the highest number in one city, Pope said.
"What we want to do is encourage everybody in the community to recycle and use these schools," Pope said.
Whichever school is able to recycle the most by Nov. 15 - America Recycles Day - will receive a plaque from Pope on behalf of Keep Arkansas Beautiful, he said.
Lauren Schlabach with Alma Schools said the main objective in Alma is to promote the school recycling program.
While she noted that Van Buren School District has been recycling for years and has built an "excellent program," Alma has only had its program in place for one year.
Alma Intermediate School Ambassadors and BETA Club members in the Middle School are promoting the recycling event to students, Schlabach said.
Special recycle events are being held throughout the month at Alma, including a final celebratory event on Nov. 15, she said.
Participating Van Buren schools also will hold recycling pushes during the month, said Harry Tommey, assistant superintendent at Van Buren School District.
While fun, residents do not need to wait for a special event to recycle with the schools. Both school districts have large blue recycling bins outside of each school that can be used any time by the community, Schlabach and Tommey said.
"They’re welcome to use them; we’d really like it if they did," Tommey said.
Alma school officials just ask that those without students attending the schools wait until times when kids are not being loaded or unloaded at the schools to bring by recyclables, Schlabach said.
Schlabach expects Alma schools to collect their usual 6-7 tons per month, though she is hoping for more, she said.
"We are looking forward to how that compares to Van Buren and other schools around the nation," Schlabach said.