From Tenth Place to Eighth Place, the Recycling Bag Team Finishes Strong


provided by Fauquier High School Reads Twitter

Students from Mr. Funk’s class bringing the plastic film/bags to collect for the recycling project.

The FHS plastic bag recycling team collected 261 pounds for the Trex contest this year. They finished eighth in the High School category of 1001-1500 student enrollment, up from tenth last year. Advisor Rebecca Isaac was “really excited to see that we made that progress” and looks forward to continuing to move up in placement.
This program was brought to FHS when the Volunteer Fauquier Club wanted to run an environmental project. It is orchestrated through Trex, a decking company that uses materials made out of recycled plastics. The goal is for schools to collect as much plastic film/bags as possible. The plastic is then weighed and the results are tallied every month. Then the results are submitted to Trex and they keep a record until the competition is finished on Earth Day. The schools are then compared and placed based on student size.
In the past the members of Volunteer Fauquier Club would go around and pick-up the bags, weigh the material and tally the results. This year, because of COVID-19, Brian Funk’s class took over. “They did all the recycling. They did the paper pick-up and the plastic bottles and cans so they were a perfect fit to jump in and help us with the plastic bags too,” said Isaac.
Once a month, students collected the materials from eight boxes located all over the school and brought it back to the library to complete the job. Isaac credits the jump in placement to the contribution of a local business, Mattress Authority. “They gave us all their plastic bags that covered the big mattresses so that added to our weight tally this year, so that was really nice,” Isaac.
Isaac encourages all students, parents and teachers to turn in their plastic bags at the school. “We don’t really get anything as far as any monetary rewards or anything. We know that we’re keeping the plastics out of the landfill, keeping them from biodegrading into the animals and things like that. [Plastic is] really harmful to the environment so we feel good about that,” said Isaac. However, the school with the most plastics collected receives a bench made out of their plastics, which Isaac said would fit well in the courtyard.
Next year Isaac hopes to continue the program in some capacity with Mr. Funk’s class or Volunteer Fauquier County. “I think it’s a good program that helps the environment. Recycling the plastics is good in order to keep them out of the landfills. However, we don’t want people to think that is the best answer. The best thing is to reduce the use of plastics by using your own reusable bags when you go shopping and try to minimize your use of single-use plastics. It’s the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ philosophy,” said Isaac.

The placement for the FHS Recycling team along with other schools for the High School category of 1001-1500 student enrollment. (provided by Fauquier High School Reads Twitter)