A ton of help for Mother Nature

Sandshore students and staff have given Mother Nature a ton of help. Actually, it’s nearly two tons. Over the past two school years, the school has recycled 3,935 pounds of plastic bags, preventing a mountain of single-use plastics from winding up in local landfills and possibly even ocean waters.

Because of the enthusiastic effort, Sandshore is again a divisional winner in a recycling challenge sponsored by Trex, a manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and other outdoor materials. Between November 15 (America Recycles Day) and April 15, Sandshore students and staff members collected 803 pounds of plastic bags, earning the school another buddy bench made from Trex composite material. The first bench, along with a Trex flower pot, were delivered in September.

School counselor Elena Melekos coordinated the effort and brought all the plastic bags used in the school to the Target store in Hackettstown, a designated drop-off location.

“Although the competition is very exciting for students, they are really focused on making a difference and protecting the environment,” said Melekos. “They love seeing how much plastic is being brought it and that it is being repurposed into something useful.”

Because of COVID concerns, the plastics collection was run differently this year. Staff members again brought their bags into school; however, families weighed their bags at home every month and then emailed Melekos the totals, along with photos. Each family then made a Target run to deliver its bags. Last year, students brought their bags to school, then the fourth- and fifth-graders in Sandshore’s Kindness Ambassador program weighed them all.

In the 2019-2020 Trex competition, the nation’s students recycled more than 360,000 pounds of plastic. This is the 14th year in which Trex has run the contest.

Sandshore Elementary School

Sandshore Elementary School
498 Sandshore Rd
Budd Lake, NJ 07828
973-691-4003

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