Tillamook County Schools Keep Plastic and Styrofoam Out of Landfill

“Given the changes happening in the recycling industry, and the dramatic reduction of viable recycling markets, it was encouraging to see schools in Tillamook County prove to everyone that their commitment to recycling is still going strong,” said David McCall, Tillamook County Solid Waste Program Manager.

As part of the 2017 America Recycles Day events organized by the department, four schools collected nearly 50 cubic yards of plastic films and Styrofoam. “Even though we are no longer accepting plastic bags at our recycling centers, we had already advertised this with the schools, so we kept the bags option open, just for them,” said McCall. “Thanks in part to our mobile Styrofoam densifier, we are able to keep accepting materials that other areas have discontinued. We tried to focus on Styrofoam, which was the majority of what the schools collected.”

Each participating school collected at least one SuperSack and will be rewarded for their efforts. Last year’s champion Neskowin Valley School and this year’s newcomer Tillamook High School each collected 9 SuperSacks. South Prairie Elementary and Cedar Creek Child Care Center were the other two participating schools. The collections were successful due to the enthusiasm of the staff, students and support of parents.

A student sorts through a small mountain of bags, as part of quality control.

Tillamook High School’s Green Eco-Action Team in front of their collection: (left to right) Student Co-Captains Kaja Smith and Nic Delso, Sustainability Captain Tiffany Beeler.

“One of the things we’re really excited about how the America Recycles Day activities have been able to compliment the Oregon Green Schools program,” said McCall. “Sue Owens, our Outreach and Education Specialist, has been coordinating these activities, and it should come as no surprise that the two schools that collected the most are both Oregon Green Schools. Bringing an understanding of environmental issues to students as part of their daily routines in an educational environment instills principles like environmental stewardship and sustainability in them throughout their lifetimes. The results of this collection campaign are proof that this connection is working.”

For more information about America Recycles Day, Oregon Green Schools, or recycling in Tillamook County, visit www.co.tillamook.or.us/gov/solidwaste or contact the Solid Waste office at 503.815.3975 or recycle@co.tillamook.or.us.