Mesquite Independent School District’s Sam Rutherford Elementary has won the second annual Texas Recycle-Bowl, making them Texas recycling champions the second year in a row. Nationwide, Rutherford placed fourth in the Keep America Beautiful annual competition. On Friday, March 8, 2013 Keep America Beautiful and Nestle Waters presented first place Texas recycling championship award of a commemorative plaque and $1,000 check to Rutherford Elementary in an awards ceremony attended by representatives of the recycling program, local dignitaries, and Mesquite ISD students and faculty, in Mesquite.
Following the event, Paige Swiney, Executive Director, Keep Mesquite Beautiful Volunteer Coordinator, City of Mesquite sat down to talk about the civic event and participants with Examiner.com in a phone interview.
Q: Why did Mesquite ISD and City of Mesquite decide to become involved in the Recycle-Bowl competition?
A: Keep Mesquite Beautiful is an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful. We try to get people involved in the recycling program to as great an extent as we can. Until about 5 years ago, no schools were involved. We decided to get the schools involved. We saw it as an opportunity for the district to save money.
First we got dumpsters brought to the schools. They instituted Green Teams at each one of the schools, getting students to take charge. The kids head up the program to get their peers to participate. As a result the school district had a large amount of savings from fewer dumpster pickups, approximately $30,000 in the first full year that they started recycling. The district took that money and put it back into the program for teaching the kids about recycling. Mesquite then got a couple of grants to teach the custodians about how to have classroom recycling. The program caught on and has grown in the last couple of years.
Q: What are the basic procedures for procuring the materials to be recycled? Does the City partner with the ISD to hold events specifically to collect them?
A: We partner with the school district on so many levels. It is a huge part of our success to keep America beautiful. Next we will hold Trash Bash, around April 12 or 13, to gather to clean areas around the city, about 20 or 30 large areas will be cleaned that day. More than 450 volunteers will participate in that event. It becomes a Trash Bash Party because the kids will clean up and about 300 of them will return to a park and have a pizza party later.
Q: What is accepted for recycling?
A: In Mesquite, we accept all items that are recyclable with the symbols 1 through 7 on them, like plastic, paper products, cardboard, aluminum, tin, wax, and milk cartons.
Q: Are donors compensated financially? Or, do they receive tax deductions for their donations?
A: No, donors are not paid and there are no tax deductible items involved. This is not like the Green Energy tax credit on tax returns that you’d get for purchasing large energy-efficient items.
Q: Give us a summation of today’s ceremony.
A: We honored the Green Teams of the seven local schools that were top in the state with a pep rally.*
Q: Second and third place winners were also Mesquite ISD schools. What are the names of the second and third place winning schools? What were their awards?
A: Second place was Kimball Elementary and third place was Pirrung Elementary. Kimball received $300 and Pirrung won $200, each from Keep Texas Beautiful.
Paige added before closing our interview that she was “so very proud of the schools and the work they've done with the program.” We agree with her, and thank Paige for taking the time to share details of this honorable civic event with our readers.
Again, congratulations to the champions on their second win. We cannot thank them enough for their unselfish deeds and their exceptional devotion to keep our state environmentally progressive and beautiful.
* Recycle-Bowl Texas:
• 321 schools registered in Texas
• Top seven schools from Mesquite ISD:
o 1st place – Rutherford Elementary, recycling 41.75 lbs/student
o 2nd place – Kimball Elementary, recycling 40.21 lbs/student
o 3rd place – Pirrung Elementary, recycling 34.65 lbs/student
o 4th place – Shaw Elementary, recycling 31.89 lbs/student
o 5th place – Lawrence Elementary, recycling 30 lbs/student
o 6th place – Moss Elementary, recycling 25.06 lbs/student
o 7th place – Mesquite Academy, recycling 22.68 lbs/student