Power To Save: Riverside Recycling Champs

TAYLOR — An elementary school in Lackawanna County is celebrating back-to-back championships and this has nothing to do with sports. Riverside Elementary is the two-time champion of the Recycling Bowl.

Students at Riverside Elementary West in Taylor are leading the state when it comes to helping the environment.

“Well, there’s always been recycling here at Riverside Elementary West and in our district, but like anything else we try to take something good and make it a lot better and that’s what we’ve done,” said Paul Brennan, Riverside Elementary West principal.

A little competition inspired students to pay close attention to what they can toss from lunch bags and their classrooms, and what can be recycled, helping each other along the way.

“It’s actually getting bigger and bigger and it’s not really about the awards, it’s about helping the environment,” said fourth grader Adrian Gonzales.

The elementary school has now claimed back-to back state championships in the Recycle Bowl, a competition sponsored by Nestle. Schools get awards and cash for having the highest amount of recycled material per student.

But these kids do it for an even bigger reason.

“Because it makes our environment better,” said fourth grader Justin Tigue.

All of the money Riverside West has won from these recycling competitions has gone right back into beautifying the school, including murals in the lobby and the couches you find as you walk in the door.

Everything down to the locks securing their recycle bins are paid for through the program’s winnings and students say they enjoy pitching in.

“That it’s very fun and it helps the environment a lot,” said Amelia Smicherko.

These students just hope others will follow their lead.

“I challenge all of the schools in northeastern Pennsylvania to shoot for us, and if they beat us that would be the ultimate compliment because what we’re all about right now is promoting awareness and the thinking green mentality,” said Brennan.