Learning to recycle just got more rewarding for K-12 students nationwide, who now have the chance to win a cash prize for their school by participating in the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge. Trex Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing, today announced the program’s first-ever financial rewards for top recyclers, made possible through a corporate sponsorship by Charter Next Generation (CNG), one of the leading providers of specialty polyethylene films in North America. CNG’s sponsorship aims to broaden adoption of the recycling program among schools nationwide and increase the overall amount of plastic film material recycled and upcycled into Trex’s world-famous composite decking.

Now in its 15th year, the annual competition challenges students to collect and recycle as much polyethylene plastic film as possible over a six-month period between America Recycles Day (Nov. 15) and Earth Day (April 22). Aside from earning an A+ for their schools by learning to give new life to discarded plastic film, top-performing schools can win high-performance Trex products for their campuses and, for the first time ever, cash prizes to use toward student education, supplies and programming, thanks to the partnership and generosity of CNG.

“CNG is incredibly excited to partner with Trex on its annual Plastic Film Recycling Challenge. Through this sponsorship, we hope to ignite the competitive spirits of students and schools across the country while teaching them about the recyclability of plastic films,” said Kathy Bolhous, chief executive officer at CNG.

New to this year’s program, CNG’s sponsorship funds bolster Trex’s continued efforts to increase recycling program adoption and youth participation nationwide. Gifts of $5,000 each will be awarded to the individual elementary, middle and high schools that recycle the most plastic film overall during the collection period. Additionally, $2,500 will be awarded to the schools at each level that recycle the second-highest amount of plastic film material. A special award of $2,500 will also be presented to the school that most creatively and widely promotes its recycling efforts through social media and grassroots community outreach.  

In addition to the financial rewards from CNG, Trex will award prizes to top recyclers based on grade level, school size and region. The winning schools per capita will earn high-performance Trex products to help beautify their campuses, and every participating school will receive a special gift from Trex in appreciation for their efforts and contributions.

During the program’s six-month collection window, participating schools must weigh and report their collection totals to Trex each month before delivering the recycled plastic to designated drop-off points in their communities. Schools can earn extra points and boost their chances of winning CNG’s creativity reward by proactively promoting their recycling efforts in local media or school and community newsletters, along with sharing posts and photos of their collection progress on social media using the #TrexRecyclingChallenge and #Recycle2Win hashtags. 

To enroll in the Plastic Film Recycling Challenge, schools can sign up by simply completing a short form on www.recycle.trex.com. Once enrolled, Trex makes participation easy by supplying each school with a turnkey toolkit, including detailed instructions, promotional materials, recycling bins and a list of qualifying recyclable materials, which range from plastic grocery bags and newspaper sleeves to cereal liners and plastic case overwraps for paper products, bottles, and cans. Schools can also leverage the easy-to-navigate Trex recycling website, which features educational content and resources. Plus, on January 31, CNG will launch a dedicated Recycle2Win.com landing page, where schools and others can view a Plastic Film Recycling Challenge leaderboard to track their schools’ success, engage via social media, and learn more about plastic film recycling.

“CNG’s involvement as a corporate sponsor really ups the ante for schools and elevates the program to a whole new level,” said Zach Lauer, vice president of supply chain at Trex Company. “We can’t wait to see all the creative ways students are going to promote their participation in real time and engage their communities to get involved in our turnkey recycling program.”

Built on green values, Trex composite decking is manufactured from 95% recycled materials, including a mix of reclaimed wood and polyethylene plastic film. Each year, the company repurposes approximately 850 million pounds of recycled and reclaimed material – including more than 1.5 billion plastic bags – in the making of its industry-leading composite decking and outdoor living products, making it one of the largest recyclers of plastic film in North America. 

As one of the leading providers of specialty polyethylene films to the North American market, CNG has a high focus on diverting plastic film from landfills by developing materials that are readily recyclable and proactively promoting the importance of recycling. The company is a long-time participant in the NexTrex Recycling Program and worked closely with Trex on its GreenArrow platform of sustainable films for flexible packaging to ensure their suitability for the Trex recycling stream.

“CNG and Trex have long shared a vision to drive circularity for plastic films. I can’t think of a better way to do this than by harnessing the energy and passion of our future generation,” said Scott Hammer, director of corporate sustainability at CNG.

There is still time for schools to get involved in the 2021-22 Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge. Registration is open now through the end of January 2022. Schools can enroll by completing a short form on the Trex recycling website, or by contacting NexTrex@trex.com.