Southampton Academy wins TREX Plastic Bag Challenge

Published 10:58 am Saturday, July 30, 2016

Did you know 70,000 plastic bags are released into the environment everyday? This not only increases unsightly litter on roadways and in neighborhoods, but also poses a threat to animals and plants.

Southampton Academy’s Recycling Team decided something had to be done about this problem.

The team began in the fall 2015 and is made up of students in 6th through 8th grade. The student body decided to help their community by competing in the TREX Plastic Bag Challenge.

TREX, Inc. makes products, such as composite decking and furniture, from the plastic bags and film that is collected.

The SA Recycling Team challenged the Lower School, Middle School and Upper School to see who could collect the most plastic bags/film from October to Earth Day in April. The team collected and counted the bags weekly, and their sponsor, Patti Rabil, took the bags to the Courtland Food Lion to be recycled.

The total amount collected at SA was 110,704 — with the Lower School collecting 51,712, the Middle School 38,399, and the Upper School 20,593.

TREX converts the quantity of plastic bags into pounds. The total weight for Southampton Academy was 1,475.4 pounds, which averaged out to 3.832 pounds for each student attending SA.

Over 200 schools from across Virginia participated in the challenge, with Southampton Academy winning. SA received a planter and bench made from TREX composite material for its accomplishment.

“This school is like my home, and like a home, I want to take care of it,” the eighth grade recycling team co-captain Mia Blythe said. “That is why I am more than proud to be part of this amazing recycling experience.”

Seventh grade co-captain Mackenzie Griffith added, “This was an outstanding opportunity. My favorite part was seeing all the effort from teachers, students, and families to participate. As a Raider, I am happy to help Southampton Academy do its part in protecting our environment.”

In addition to the Plastic Bag Challenge, Rabil received a grant from the Southampton Litter Control Board to purchase individual classroom and office bins, a collection cart and a large recycling container that was placed on the grounds at SA. This now enables the academy to recycle all types of materials including cardboard, plastic, paper, metals, and glass.

The Litter Control Board arranged for the recycling to be picked up once a month and taken to Butler Paper in Franklin.

Rabil explained that it took a lot of work to get the plan into action, but with the school’s enthusiasm and support the project has been a great success and will continue to be for years to come. The Big Blue Raider Nation has now officially gone green.