KALAHEO — For Kalaheo Elementary School students, recycling is as second nature as running to the playground when they hear the recess bell.
In 2015, Kalaheo school collected 2,572 pounds of recyclables including cardboard, paper, plastic, glass and redeemable beverage containers, giving the school the distinction of being the 2015 Recycle Bowl State Community Division winners.
“We’re so excited and proud of the students and our community for stepping up and helping us to win this award,” said Malie Smith, Kalaheo Elementary School recycling coordinator. “The students are learning about the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle — thanks to Leah Tischler and Charlie Tronoff from the Kauai County Recycling Office.”
Kalaheo school is a first time participant and division winner of the competition, which was held Oct. 19 to Nov. 16.
“The school has seen a significant increase in recycling since participating in this contest,” Smith said. “We hope to continue to raise awareness in our community through our school and students and hope to do even better next year.”
Smith added that the school’s biggest contributor was Paco’s Tacos Cantina at the Kukuiolono Golf Course Clubhouse, donating all of its HI 5 recyclables to the school.
“Schools like Kalaheo Elementary demonstrate what students, faculty-staff and parents are doing to reduce waste by reusing and recycling valuable resources on the path to zero waste,” wrote Marsha Hee, Recycle Hawaii, education director, in an email. “They also received support from local businesses for their recycling drive.”
Hee said she encourages more schools on Kauai to get involved through programs such as Recycle Bowl and receive local support.
Nine schools statewide collected a total of 27,792 pounds of recyclables for a ration of 6.34 pounds recycled per person.
The Recycle Bowl is an annual nationwide event — sponsored by Keep America Beautiful — which promotes recycling by challenging schools to collect as much recyclable materials during a four-week period.