Keep America Beautiful recognized Midway Middle School this week for its waste-reduction efforts, but for students led by math teacher Joy Kennedy, their dedication to preventing landfill inundation isn’t over.
In fact, the school currently is No. 4 in the Dream Machine Recycle Rally and is seeking plastic bottles and aluminum cans through April 30.
The rally began in September, Kennedy said, and the winner stands to receive $25,000 toward a school makeover for green improvements. The school’s recycling initiative is led by the Builders Club, which is sponsored by the local Kiwanis Club.
The school will need heaps of used items to topple its bracket leader, Northgate Crossing Elementary School from Spring, Texas. On Wednesday afternoon, Northgate had 459,847 containers to Midway’s 172,568.
Smaller cash prizes also will go to the top 20 finishers, and if MMS retains its No. 4 ranking, it stands to receive $3,000.
But the school already has placed first in two other competitions. Kennedy traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to receive an award from Keep America Beautiful for youth division waste reducing in the group’s 60th anniversary conference.
The group also was named No. 1 by Keep Georgia Beautiful last month, and it won first-place state and national awards from the same organization in 2010 for a milk bottle recycling project.
“It was very exciting winning the first-place awards and being recognized for our efforts,” Kennedy said. “Our students, faculty and staff are working hard to recycle. Each year, our recycling program has increased.”
The effort also reaches beyond campus. Midway Mayor Dr. Clemontine Washington and Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Sara Swida stayed after the Liberty Countywide Planning Update last week and sifted through waste to pluck recyclable cans and bottles to donate to the school.
“It would be amazing if we could get more community involvement dropping off bottles and cans,” Kennedy said. “We have lots of current parents, (the) Midway Police Department, the mayor’s office, churches — we need more.”
The school is accepting empty plastic bottles and aluminum cans from non-alcoholic beverages.
The Dream Machine Recycle Rally is one pillar of the larger Dream Machine program — a multiyear collaboration between PepsiCo, Waste Management and Keep America Beautiful, that utilizes www.greenopolis.com — which will make thousands of recycling bins and kiosks available in popular public venues to make it more convenient and rewarding for people to recycle on–the–go.
The Dream Machine program is designed around PepsiCo’s goal of creating strategic partnerships to help increase the U.S. beverage container recycling rate to 50 percent by 2018. There is no cost to the school for participation.