Thu May 23, 2013
ELGIN — Students from Abbott Middle School recycled more than 3,100 pounds of clothing during the month of April to take first prize in USAgain’s seventh annual Earth Month Challenge contest.
Abbott topped 540 schools, collecting 3,104 pounds of clothing and shoes to win the $1,000 first prize, which the school intends to use towards future environmental school and community programs, according to a release from the West Chicago-based company.
“This was a school‐wide and community‐wide effort,” said Diane Harty, a 7th grade science teacher at Abbott who sponsors the school’s Garden for the Environment Club. “Winning the contest demonstrates that Abbott students understand the importance of reducing waste and protecting the planet by recycling and reusing items and keeping them out of landfills.”
Abbott offers convenient recycling for not only clothing and shoes but for electronics, printer cartridges, cell phones, eye glasses and batteries. In addition, the school recycles its Styrofoam lunchroom trays, which has helped reduce waste by 75 percent, the release said.
During the month of April, a record 540 schools across the country competed to collect textiles in USAgain drop boxes located at their schools. USAgain, a for‐profit textile recycler, rewarded the top schools by offering cash prizes of $1,000, $750, $500, $250 and $100.
“This contest is a great way for schools to engage with students and their communities about the importance of keeping textiles out of landfills, while raising money at the same time,” said Mattias Wallander, CEO of USAgain, noting that 85 percent of all unwanted clothing in the U.S., or more than 11 million tons, is thrown into the trash and buried in landfills each year.
This year participating schools combined to collect 188,650 pounds of textiles, which is the equivalent of 43 full garbage trucks of clothing. That adds up to 1,078 cubic yards of landfill space, more than 264 million gallons of water saved and nearly 1.3 million pounds of CO2 emissions prevented from damaging the environment, the release said.