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Local kids recycle to win

Nov. 12, 2004

By DEANNA LOWERY, reporter

For the past two years, Crestview Elementary has been a model for schools in the Waco Independent School District, consecutively winning the month-long recycling contest sponsored by Keep Waco Beautiful as a precursor to Texas Recycles Day Monday.

And this year was no different. By collecting more than 113,000 pounds of recyclables -- 1,600 to 1,800 of which was cardboard -- the school, once again, came out on top.

Robyn Kenagy | Lariat staff
Fifth grade students at Crestview Elementary School tear up paper and cardboard and deposit the pieces into recycling bins. The students recycled 113,330 pounds of material in October alone.
"The students were very excited about it," Linda Pringle, Crestview's librarian and head of its recycling push said. "Most of our parents work, but before and after school, they were really involved."

Julie Henry, executive director of Keep Waco Beautiful, attested to the students enthusiasm.

"Kids get so excited; every single person in the school brought a [recyclable item] every single day. When they threw that piece of paper in the trash, boy, they got clobbered," she said.

But the districtwide recycling drive isn't the only program Henry has helped coordinate for Texas Recycles Day. Keep Waco Beautiful also has organized a donation drive for used business clothes at Second Chance Clothes, in an attempt to clothe the homeless at the Hope House for job interviews. There are also drop-off locations for used cell phones and inkjet cartridges at city hall and Wireless Concepts in Richland Mall. Henry said about 80 cell phones have been collected so far. However, although these events were just a month-long, Henry stressed the importance of reusing and recycling as ongoing.

"Our whole goal is to realize how much in one month's time could've gone in the trash. It's a public awareness thing," she said.

And Waco isn't the only Texas town whose organizations are trying to raise public consciousness of waste issues. Keep Fort Worth Beautiful and the Tarrant Area Food Bank sponsored Nov. 4th's "Kick the Can" event, where residents and business people gathered between downtown's blocked off Second and Third Streets during their lunch hour to participate in a can-kicking relay race.

In Austin, several programs were held to raise public awareness of recycling and reuse issues. The city's solid waste services department held its annual art contest among Austin Independent School District's schools. The first-place artwork of Marina Flecha, a Murchison Middle School eighth-grader, will be displayed for a month on two billboards in the downtown area.

Goodwill Industries of Central Texas is also accepting used computers at its Computer Works location on Research Boulevard in Austin today through Monday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

According to Carley Dowell, communications coordinator for Keep Texas Beautiful, registration went from 333 events last year statewide to 465 this year, a 28 percent increase.

She also said there were 188 events held by youth groups and K-12 schools, while only an estimated 10 events were sponsored by Texas colleges and universities.

And Crestview's willingness to donate is a reflection of Texas kids' overwhelming participation.

"They'd be waiting in the morning for us with backpacks full of stuff for us," Pringle said of Crestview students.

"We're pretty good recyclers here."