EHTHS named country's 'most improved' recycling school

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Submitted/Egg Harbor Township High School receives a $1,000 prize for being named the ‘most improved’ school in recycling efforts, having increased its recycling by more than 190 percent. Submitted/Egg Harbor Township High School receives a $1,000 prize for being named the ‘most improved’ school in recycling efforts, having increased its recycling by more than 190 percent.

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – Egg Harbor Township High School won a superlative of its own this month when it was named as the “most improved’ out of all participating schools in this year’s nationwide Recycle Bowl.

The Recycle Bowl is sponsored nationally by Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. More than 700,000 students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia competed in the challenge, which ran from Oct. 19 through Nov. 15. Atlantic County Utilities Authority hosts it on the local level.

“For the ‘most improved’ category, we compared the participants in the ‘School to School’ division, and looked at the per capita recycling rates of the schools in previous years to their 2013 rate,” said Recycle Bowl representative Suzanne Edelberg. “Egg Harbor Township High School increased their rate by 190 percent. They placed first out of 461 schools nationally in the division.”

“Inspiring young people to recycle at school reinforces the importance of recycling everywhere, whether at home or on the go,” said Jennifer Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “We are also pleased that so many schools use the competition to improve existing recycling programs or develop new ones that didn’t exist prior to their participation.”

The high school received bragging rights as well as a $1,000 check that was presented to Principal Terry Charlton, students and staff on Wednesday, Feb. 26 by ACUA representatives and Mayor James “Sonny” McCullough and Committeeman John Carman.

In total, 23 Atlantic County schools participated in Recycle-Bowl this past year and the state winner of the bowl was Egg Harbor City Community School.

During the four-week competition, which culminated on America Recycles Day on Nov. 15, the participating schools recycled as much as possible. The total amount of recyclables recovered during the 2013 competition added up to 6.4 million pounds, which in turn prevented the release of nearly 8,913 metric tons of carbon equivalent. In real-world terms, this reduction in greenhouse gases is equivalent to the annual emissions from 473 passenger cars.

“We couldn’t be more proud of our school leaders,” said Maria Mento, executive vice president and chief finance officer of the ACUA. “The effort and leadership demonstrated by these schools is to be commended. We applaud each school and we’re anxious to share their successes with the broader community with the hope that it will inspire other schools to reinvigorate or initiate their own recycling programs.”

A recognition ceremony is planned for all Atlantic County Recycle Bowl participants during ACUA’s Earth Day celebration on April 27.

“The teachers, staff and administration at the participating schools are leading by example. We hope that by lifting them up and acknowledging their commitment to recycling, more schools will follow suit,” added Mento.

Atlantic County Recycle-Bowl by the Numbers:

23 of 26 New Jersey schools registered were Atlantic County schools;

17,516 Atlantic County students participated in the competition;

136,007 pounds of recyclables recovered; and

On average 7.76 pounds of material were collected per person during the four weeks of the competition.

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