SPRINGFIELD — Hampshire County’s little-recycling-powerhouse-that-could is once again putting the “green” in Springfield-Green Spring.

Springfield-Green Spring Elementary participates in the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge every year. This year, the school placed 2nd out of the 270 schools in the region who participated in the recycling of plastic film and bags.

The reward for the competition? A Trex bench, of course, and SGES is no stranger to that particular prize. After all, this is their 5th year winning a bench for their recycling habits.

“When we started out, we have to teach ourselves and the surrounding community just what plastic was included in this recycling competition and what was not,” explained kindergarten teacher Gayle Allen. “This is an ongoing learning process.”

Allen said that the 1st year the elementary school participated in the competition, they collected just over 2,000 pounds of plastic, and they’ve increased that amount every year since.

This year, the school just about doubled what they collected in their 1st year, clocking in a 4,497 pounds of plastic collected.

“The children enjoy bringing little pieces of plastic and bags of grocery store bags to me,” Allen said. “They are very proud.”

While the Covid pandemic affected just about every aspect of day-to-day life, especially for the schools, Allen said the plastic collection hardly changed at all. When the Sunrise Summit Food Lion stopped taking plastic for nearly 3 months, Allen said other grocery stores in Cumberland and Winchester did, which allowed them to keep their collection totals up without seeing any dropping off thanks to Covid.

The Trex challenge is held every year, beginning on America Recycles Day on Nov. 15 and lasts until April 15, and winners are announced on Earth Day.

The winner of the challenge in the Mid-Atlantic Elementary School category was Hampton Christian Academy Elementary, in Hampton, Va., who added 4,802 pounds to the mix and placed 1st in the challenge, beating out Hampshire County’s plastic recycling powerhouse by just over 300 pounds.

For more information on how to participate in the challenge, visit https://recycle.trex.com/.

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