It took a ton of recyclables — literally — for the Clear Creek High School Global Science class to be named the 2011 Colorado State Champions of the Recycle Bowl, sponsored by Keep America Beautiful.
To win the competition, the students collected plastic bottles, paper and aluminum cans at school for four weeks as part of a competition they devised among homeroom classes at the high school and Legacy classes at the middle school. Their recycling efforts won them a first-place certificate and a $1,000 cash prize, which they want to use for a green project at the school. They will meet with principal Elizabeth Gardner to devise a plan.
While the award was a nice bonus, students in the class said their project helped clean up the school and make students more aware of the benefits of recycling.
The school’s recycling contest began when teacher Nancy Spletzer asked members of the class if they would be interested in competing in the Recycle Bowl, according to junior Brooke Barnes. The idea was to get the school to recycle more than it already did.
Clear Creek High has had a recycling program for more than 20 years, according to Spletzer.
“We got creative,” student Darcy Josephson said. “We wanted the kids to get into it, so we made colorful posters. That helped a lot.”
The students spoke in classrooms, explaining the contest and getting students involved. They also set ground rules because they wanted each class to have a fair chance to win, so students couldn’t bring recyclables from local businesses.
The students picked up recyclables from classrooms at least twice a week. They weighed them and took them to EDS Waste Solutions’ single-stream recycling. They collected 500 pounds of recyclables each week for four weeks.
“Some kids got so inspired that we needed to pick up the recyclables a lot,” student Adam Magers said.
The reward for the high school homeroom that collected the most recyclables was a pizza party. For the middle school class, it was milk and cookies.
Student Madalyn Cross said a positive outcome from the contest was that the hallways had less paper on the floor. Instead, students picked up the paper and recycled it.
The class agreed that the recycling contest taught fellow students how much they waste and how many recyclable items usually end up in the trash.