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Fort Island Primary School Is Up to the Challenge of Recycling Plastic Waste

Students at Copley-Fairlawn’s Fort Island Primary School are learning about the importance of recycling by participating in a fun, nationwide initiative.

At the beginning of the school year, Fort Island Primary partnered with the PTA to join the NexTrex recycling challenge started by Trex, a composite decking company. They joined hundreds of schools across the nation to compete against each other to recycle the most plastic bags and film in the recycling challenge.

This challenge serves a dual purpose, giving students a better understanding of, and appreciation for, the importance of recycling, and providing Trex with recyclable plastics that can be transformed into composite decks.

At the start of the challenge, Fort Island Primary set a lofty goal to collect 750 pounds of plastic, without knowing how successful they would be.

“Initially, we were hoping to collect a few items, but we have been doing quite well in the nationwide event,” said Principal Brian Falhamer.

As of Feb. 12, Fort Island Primary has reached 83.88% of their total goal, with their highest collection amount coming in January. With a few months left to go in the competition, Fort Island currently ranks in the top 100 schools across the nation for all school types and enrollments and is well on their way to reaching their goal.

Although the competition ends April 15, recycling efforts will extend through the end of April and community members are encouraged to participate by bringing their own recycling materials to Fort Island Primary.

“While the NexTrex challenge gave Fort Island Primary a great head start with our recycling efforts, this is only the beginning,” said PTA President Shelley Melchior. “Now that we’ve developed a streamlined process for recycling, we are excited to continue doing our part to help the environment.”

About NexTrex

Each year, the NexTrex challenge kicks off on Nov. 15, America Recycles Day, and concludes on April 15. Participating schools are provided with three recycling bins and promotional materials to explain the challenge. Volunteers are then required to weigh and report the collected materials every month before delivering them to participating drop-off retailer locations. Collection amounts are reported monthly, and winners are announced on Earth Day. First-place winners receive a high-performance composite bench for their school and all participating schools receive a participation award made from Trex materials.

Plastic film packaging is used for countless products, including food storage bags, bubble wrap, newspaper sleeves and shipping envelopes. When this packaging is recycled properly through NexTrex, it can be processed and repurposed into durable outdoor living products.

After more than a decade, this recycling challenge continues to educate and inspire young people and makes it possible for them to take an active role in helping the environment.

Ft. Island Recycling Challenge