3.4 million and counting

Schools exceed recyle collection target

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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W ith two terms left in the 2018-2019 school year, members of the Wisynco Eco Club have already surpassed the target for the enitre year, collecting some 3.4 million plastic bottles for recycling as of December 14, the end of the Christmas term.

Two days before the end of the term, the teams had recorded 2.8 million bottles.

Wisynco released the new figures on Monday, underscoring that the target for the whole year was three million.

Among the best-performing schools were Sandy Bank Primary, which placed firstin St ELizabeth; and Denbigh High School, which topped the field in Clarendon.

When the Wisynco team showed up to surprise the students of Sandy Bank Primary, cheers of excitement filled the air as news about their performance spread.

Opal Alexander, teacher, told the Jamaica Observer that, “The entire school became involved as we were guided by our motto: 'Success through integrity and hard work'. They ensured that all plastic bottles were placed in the drums provided and availed themselves on Saturdays to go into the community in order to collect bottles.

“Recycling has become a part of us so much so that I have had students go to restaurants and leave with the plastic bottles they receive, just so they can recycle them. As a matter of fact, during the holidays they even collected the bottles that their parents used and we have them stored for the next phase of the competition which we are looking forward to,” she said.

Denbigh High School, meanwhile, collected approximately 204,672 plastic bottles independently. A close second was Vere Technical, with 202,536 plastic bottles and third was Knox College, with 173,544 plastic bottles.

“Our students have worked extremely hard; collecting and sorting garbage generated at school on a daily basis,” Chambers Brown told the Jamaica Observer. “They were also involved in street collection in and around the Denbigh area as well as collection from homes and communities outside of Denbigh. Our parents, teachers, vendors and taxi drivers have also been on board with us and it is a joy to watch persons coming in with their daily collection.

“Since the competition, the students have become more environmentally conscious and are even involved in composting which is another form of recycling. We are certainly looking forward to the next phase of the ECO Club, this is demonstrated in the collection of about 100 bags of plastic bottles since the month has started,” she said.

The top three schools in each of the five regions received cash prizes — $100,000 to the winners; $50,000 for second place; and $25,000 for placing third. By the end of the competition, Wisynco will have awarded over $1.8 million in cash and prizes to the participating schools in ECO Club to be put toward environmental initiatives.

As for plans for the funds, Alexander said the school intends to finish a perimeter wall which they have been trying to put up “for some time”. Chambers Brown, meanwhile, said the club has not yet decided specifically how the funds will be used.

Wisynco ECO is designed to promote recycling and environmental awareness among students of secondary and primary schools in five regions across the island competing in bottle drives and clean up initiatives in an effort to collect the most plastic bottles and win cash prizes courtesy of Wisynco. To kick off January and the start of the second phase of the competition, the Wisynco ECO team surprised the top three schools in each region that collected the most bottles in phase one.

“I am extremely overjoyed and proud of the students, their respective schools, the teachers and parents. It has been a hectic couple of months, the dedication and effort put out by everyone involved has helped us to collect 3,455,640 bottles, which surpasses our initial collection goal of 3 million bottles,” said Wisynco environment communication officer.

“Wisynco has created and will continue to help develop a habit of recycling in our youth through this initiative, by getting them excited about the need and value of recycling. Much like the students, we too are excited as we venture into phase 2 of the competition which will end in April. Our hope is that the schools continue recycling as they have, in an effort to lead the way to a more sustainable Jamaica for this generation and the next.”

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