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Earth Friendly: Recycle at work, win prizes

By Victoria Advocate
Aug. 26, 2010 at 3:26 a.m.

Meridith Byrd

By Meridith Byrd

Is your workplace green? Does your office recycling fill up faster than the garbage? Have you wanted to introduce recycling at work, but are unsure of how to do it? Now is the chance to show off how green your workplace is or can be by entering the Battle of the Break Rooms and competing against other businesses for prizes.

The Victoria Recycles Community Advisory Panel (CAP) met over the summer to plan an event that would coincide with Texas Recycles Day. Observed this year on Nov. 15, Texas Recycles Day is a statewide public awareness campaign celebrating the environmental and economic benefits of waste reduction and recycling. The CAP ultimately chose to hold a contest to see which business in the Victoria area can recycle the most paper, plastic or aluminum over a nine-week period.

The Battle of the Break Rooms runs from Sept. 6 to Nov. 6, and all types of workplaces are invited to participate. Registration is open now; contest details and registration forms can be obtained on the city's Environmental Services website (www.victoriatx.org/environmental/recycling.asp) or by contacting Marie Lester at 485-3230 or cmlester@victoriatx.org.

So far, eight teams have signed up to battle. Teams are limited to 15 participants, so if your business is larger, the staff can break into two or more separate teams and compete against each other as well as other teams.

The Battle of the Break Rooms is divided into three separate categories: paper, plastic and aluminum. Teams can choose to participate in one, two or three categories, but cannot win more than one. The city's Environmental Services department will deliver recycling bins and copies of contest instructions to all teams before the contest begins. Place the bins in your break room or other convenient area, and let the collecting begin.

When the recycling bins fill up, teams must take them to the Huvar Street recycling site on either Fridays or Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., where Victoria Recycles CAP members will be on hand to collect and record the recyclables brought in for the Battle of the Break Rooms. Bins taken to Huvar Street at any other time will not be counted toward the contest.

The winners for each category will be announced Nov. 8, and prizes will be awarded the week of Nov. 15-19. Each first place team will celebrate with a green ribbon cutting at their business and an eco-party complete with food and drinks. In addition, the winner in the paper category receives a one day rental of the Hiller House & Athey Nature Area donated by Keep Victoria Beautiful. Valued at $350, it is a great location for an office retreat or holiday party. The winner of the plastic category receives a $250 gift card to Olive Garden donated by Waste Management and the aluminum category winner receives a $250 gift card to Sam's Club donated by Texas Port Recycling.

So gather your co-workers, come up with a fun team name, pick a category and compete in the Battle of the Break Rooms.

Meridith Byrd is a marine biologist and invites readers to contact her at meridith.byrd@gmail.com.

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