October 18, 2011
Chicago Public Schools today announced that 307 schools that met or exceeded their recycling targets during the last semester will be rewarded with school supplies courtesy of a partnership between CPS and Office Depot. The Recycling Rewards program, part of the District’s Environmental Action Plan, promotes recycling of paper, plastic, aluminum and even milk cartons at every school.
The supplies to each school have a value of $260, making the total rebate from Office Depot close to $80,000. Office Depot provides this rebate on eco-friendly supplies purchased by CPS.
“The program has been successful promoting recycling, and more schools are recycling more materials than ever before,” said Suzanne Carlson, Director of Environmental Affairs, who oversees the Environmental Action Plan.
Recycling drivers track how much each school recycles every week, and CPS compares it to a target, based on enrollment, for each school. CPS then posts the scores on the School Environmental Scorecard, and every school that averages 100 percent or better of its recycling score across the semester earns Recycling Rewards.
Since 2005, Chicago Public Schools has awarded Recycling Rewards to schools that meet or exceed their recycling targets.
Carlson emphasized the growth of the program. In spring 2010, 165 schools earned Recycling Rewards; in fall 2010, the number of schools meeting or exceeding their goals rose to 214. She attributed the most recent increase to 307 schools to the following factors:
- Rolling out milk carton recycling during the 2010-11 school year to 200 schools. The program is being expanded to another 250 schools this year for a total of 450 schools.
- Adjusting the trash and recycling pickups at many schools to emphasize recycling over simple disposal of items that could otherwise be recycled.
- Ongoing outreach and promotion of recycling to schools.
The school supplies will be delivered directly to the school. The Rewards products are those commonly used by schools, have recycled content or “green” attributes, and benefit students directly so they see the benefit of recycling. CPS has posted its recycling guide online.
Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.