In the Bag: It's Crunch Time for Pinecrest Recycling Project
A Pinecrest High School recycling club is striving to make Moore County a little greener.
Aayushi Patel, a school senior and president of the Student Environmental Association, said her group has recently initiated a pair of projects that involve both her school and the international community.
"Our biggest project at this time is the TerraCycle company's chip bag recycling competition, which is being held at Pinecrest for teachers and students to participate together to collect the highest amount of used chip bags," she said. "The TerraCycle company will then collect the bags for recycling."
Patel said that 21 third-period classes will participate, with the winning class awarded a pizza party by Mellow Mushroom.
Patel said the group collected 21,646 chip bags during the semester.
"Our club mission is to spread awareness for recycling chip bags so that we have less trash occupying landfills," she said. "To include the Sandhills community into our recycling initiative, we have partnered with the Subway restaurants at Pinecrest Plaza and at Town and Country Shopping Center to put a recycling bin at their stores for Frito-Lay chip bags."
Patel said the initiative has been so successful that the group plans to place bins at other locations.
The Pinecrest project was the brainchild of former Spanish instructor Erika Dragoo, who began a recycling program for her class.
"After she left Pinecrest the project ended, but the Student Environmental Association resurrected and expanded her plan to become the current program," Patel said. "We just took her idea and made it larger."
Lauren Taylor, director of public relations for TerraCycle Inc., in Trenton, N.J., said it was "great to see students take responsibility and initiative for keeping the planet a little cleaner."
"For the Pinecrest High School Student Environmental Association to have collected almost 22,000 chip bags through the Frito-Lay Chip Bag Brigade shows they are making an incredible effort to recycle something that would otherwise be thrown away," she said. "They are great role models for other students and members of the community."
A second program strives to make footwear available to those who may forced to do without.
"This project bridges the gap between recycling and public health," Patel said. "One of our club members introduced us to a health initiative that involves supplying shoes to the people of Kenya."
Spearheaded by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert Jones, president of Impact Orthopedics in Raleigh, this group collects gently used shoes to bring to Kenya each year to be distributed to village citizens. Dr. Jones learned that many of the diseases that Kenyans have stem from a lack of shoes.
"Our SEA team has named this 'Kicks for Kenya,'" Patel said. "At present it is a campus-only drive that invites students, faculty and their family members to donate their unwanted shoes for a better cause."
Patel said the program may spread in the future.
"Because this is a fairly recent project for SEA, we are not making this a public opportunity just yet," she said.
Patel said she believes it is important "to share the importance" of recycling in the community.
"I hope our achievements inspire others to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and to partake in their own humanitarian initiatives to help our local, national and global community," she said. "We thank everyone for contributing their used chip bags and shoes to a very important cause."
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz @thepilot.com.-
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