Scottsdale ‘Bench the Bag’ program encourages recycling education

Scottsdale students participating in the city's "Bench the Bag" program. (Submitted photo)

Scottsdale students participating in the city’s “Bench the Bag” program. (Submitted photo)

Eleven Scottsdale elementary and middle schools participated in an effort this year, coined “Bench the Bag” to keep damaging plastic bags out of the city’s recycling program, a May 2 press release states.

The schools collected about 6,800 pounds of the thin-film plastic containers as part of a regional Bench the Bag program. Plastic bags are the biggest contaminant in Scottsdale’s recycling program — they can harm the automated equipment at the facility where recyclables are sorted, city officials say.

During the local program, Scottsdale schools competed against each other to recycle the most plastic bags, while students learned the importance of recycling and keeping plastic out of landfills.

The 2016 contest winner is Lexis Preparatory School of Scottsdale, which collected an average of eight pounds of material per student. Honorable mention goes to Hohokam Traditional School, which collected over 1,600 pounds of recyclable plastic over the five-week contest, according to Mike Phillips, a spokesman for the city.

Scottsdale urges all residents to Bench the Bag — instead of putting them in the recycling or trash, take plastic bags to your local grocery store and look for the special recycling bin.

By reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic bags, your family can help reduce litter, prevent pollution and save natural resources,” Mr. Phillips said in the release. “Please help by recycling your plastic bags and packaging year long.”

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