HARLINGEN — Local schools are paying it back by the ton.
Harlingen South leads the way when it comes to recycling efforts this school year, turning over 5,756 pounds to the Harlingen Recycling Center.
Second was Memorial Middle School with 4,880 pounds, followed by Vela Middle School, Bonham Elementary and Lamar Elementary.
Among private schools, St. Alban’s led the way with 1,325 pounds, just edging Marine Military Academy which had 1,309 pounds.
The records were provided this week to the Keep Harlingen Beautiful board members by the Harlingen Recycling Center. The recycled material from the schools was collected between August and December.
“We have shining stars throughout this program,” said the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District’s energy manager, Joel Cruz. “I’m very proud of the things we’re doing.”
Together, Harlingen public schools contributed 123,044 pounds of recyclable materials to the Harlingen Recycling Center, with 110,910 pounds of cardboard the No. 1 material by far.
Texas State Technical College contributed 4,144 pounds for recycling this school year, and the college was lumped in with private schools which together contributed 6,971 pounds of recyclable material.
Cruz said schools within HCISD have been on a recycling drive for some 15 to 20 years. Each school has a recycling program and every year the top two schools win $500 awards from the district to be spent as they see fit.
Last year, he said, Crockett Elementary and Vela Middle School took the honors and the checks.
“So far year-to-date we’ve got about a 2 percent increase over last year,” Cruz said of total recycling tonnage.
“They’ve gotten really good at making initiatives and collecting plastic bottles and paper and newspaper,” he added. “We collect the metal cans … the kitchen staffs bundle up all the cans they use, like carrots and green beans, et cetera, and they rinse them out and put them in the bag.”
Cruz said some schools can fluctuate year-to-year when it comes to recycling efforts, mostly he believes due to staff turnover.
“It’s kind of a roller-coaster, but all-in-all, we’re seeing a pretty good increase over last year,” Cruz said.
Top public schools for recycling
Harlingen South 5,756
Memorial MS 4,880
Vela MS 2,760
Bonham Elem 2,667
Lamar Elem 2,206
Top private schools for recycling
St. Alban’s 1,325