Valley View Bag Bonanza: Recycling 37,000 Bags

ARCHBALD — A recycling competition at a high school in Lackawanna County blew away the expectations of the teacher and students who organized it.

Valley View High School collected 37,000 plastic shopping bags in only a week.

They just kept coming out of a classroom’s closets at Valley View High School, bag after bag, all jammed full of more bags, all heading off for recycling.

The school’s Bio Club held a competition among classes to see who could collect the most plastic shopping bags and it became a bag bonanza.

“I thought maybe we’d get 500 through the whole school, but I can’t believe we have this many,” said senior Emily Fabri.

“We have things like this all the time, but 37,000 bags??  I don’t think anyone was expecting that kind of amount to collect, wow!” said junior Katie Carone.

The winning class got a pizza party. It alone collected 11,000 bags.

“I asked all my family members for their bags.  My mom had her friends get bags and everyone got lots of bags,” Carone said.

This idea came from Anastasia Zabielski, the school’s Biology teacher and Bio Club advisor.

“I just thought we have so many bags in our own house and I see how many my mom has and I bring my lunch in a bag and I thought let’s see how many we can get and I never thought we’d get 37,000!”

The students piled them all in the school lobby to see just how much space all those bags would take up in a landfill.  Then off they went to fill a big truck. And fill that truck they did.  All of them were going to Target for the actual recycling.

All of this turned into quite a lesson.

“It shows how much is going to be kept out of the landfills.  It shows how much the community can come together and get bags in the community and how we should recycle, help save our environment,” said Zabielski.

The students at Valley View have a message for all of us.  If they can collect this many bags – a truck full, 37,000 just at this school – they know there are many, many more out there and we should recycle, too.

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