Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Recycling students set example to follow

By the Advocate Editorial Board
May 26, 2014 at 12:26 a.m.

The Victoria Independent School District is full of students who are motivated and inspired to make a difference. We received another demonstration of this recently thanks to the national Dream Machine Recycle Rally sponsored by PepsiCo.

Three VISD schools placed in the recycling competition in the division for schools with 500 to 600 students. F.W. Gross Elementary School earned 10th place, and Smith Elementary School earned sixth place, and both schools will receive $1,000 through the program. But the big winner of this division was Torres Elementary School, which won first place and will receive a $25,000 prize as well as a $1,000 semester prize.

This is a wonderful accomplishment, and we applaud the students, teachers and staff of each of these schools for their hard work and commitment to encouraging others to be more active in recycling. According to the competition's website, the goal of the effort is to increase the beverage container recycling rate in the U.S. to 50 percent by 2018. The competition encourages schools across the country to bring in nonalcoholic beverage containers of plastic and aluminum for recycling. Students can redeem the items they bring in for points that are redeemable through national retailers to earn sporting goods, electronics, gift cards, educational events and music, books and videos. The recycling program also supports PepsiCo's Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, which is a national program that teaches entrepreneurship and small-business management to disabled post-9/11 veterans.

We applaud the students, teachers and staff members who put in so much effort to help protect the environment and encouraged others to recycle through this program. Recycling is an important tool that is not utilized nearly enough in our society, and we are proud to see members of the upcoming generation are making an effort to prevent waste and pollution by taking advantage of it.

The money the schools receive comes with stipulations - namely that the money must be used in some form of green improvements to the school. There are a number of small projects that can be done for $1,000, but we are curious and excited to see what Torres students, with $26,000 available, will choose to do. Diane Boyett, spokeswoman for VISD, said this about Torres' plans in an email Friday: "Currently, Torres Elementary is looking at the cost of some different options for improvements at the school. Principal Sherry Gorsuch says they will use the funds for a project that directly benefits the children in the school."

That sounds like the perfect starting point. We look forward to seeing what improvements the school's leadership settles on. We hope this competition has inspired the students, teachers, their families and others in the community to recycle more items. In today's world, we have the technology to reuse many different kinds of materials. We should take full advantage of that capability, and we thank the students of VISD for reminding us of that.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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