Blackstone Valley Tech Advances Recycling Initiatives


To many, the holidays mean stuffed stockings and a pile of presents under the tree. To others, the holidays mean extra trash bags filled with wrapping paper and plastic wrap. The students in the Students for Environmental Awareness (S.E.A) club at Blackstone Valley Tech are giving you a quick, simple, environmentally friendly option to rid yourself of the excess waste the holidays bring: recycle it through the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge.

The students at Valley Tech will collect plastic grocery bags, bread bags, newspaper sleeves, Ziploc bags, bubble wrap, dry cleaning bags, and more through April 15, 2017. As part of the challenge, the students will compete against other area schools to collect and recycle the most plastic film. Each month, the students will weigh and record the amount of plastic film received through the recycling bins spread throughout the school. It will then go to Shaw’s in Northbridge for recycling.

Valley Tech, which was recognized as a “Green School” through the state’s 2016 Excellence in Energy awards for promoting environmentally friendly technology and practices in both its facility and vocational technical curriculum and was the first green renovation school in Massachusetts, will be competing to win a Trex bench when the winner is announced on Earth Day (April 22, 2017).

The students in BVT’s S.E.A club, led by Painting & Design Technologies instructor Thomas Lamont, work throughout the school year to increase awareness and sensitivity about our environment and to enjoy its recreational opportunities. Bonnie Combs, Marketing Director at Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc., who also manages the organizations Trash Responsibly™ program, has similar goals and hoped to increase community involvement in recycling efforts this year.

“Since meeting a Trex representative at a Keep America Beautiful conference back in January, and learning about all the kinds of stretchy plastic that can be recycled in addition to plastic bags, I became very interested in promoting this,” explained Combs. “Then I learned about the Trex plastic bag and plastic film recycling challenge for schools that kicks off on America Recycles Day (November 15) and runs until Earth Day in April. Since then, I have been looking for schools within the Blackstone Heritage Corridor to take on this challenge.”

The goals of the Blackstone Heritage Corridor, Inc. and the S.E.A club at Valley Tech aligned, so the two organizations partnered to encourage recycling throughout the Blackstone Valley.

“Tom Lamont from Blackstone Valley Tech was the first to come forward and sign on, followed by Northbridge High School and later by Whitin Elementary School. This lineup exceeded my goal with BVT’s students coming from 13 different communities. This year’s challenge will be making a huge impact here in Blackstone Valley,” said Combs.

Trex will use the plastic film recycled through the program to create composite lumber, which it uses to make environmentally friendly decking and railing.

The members of the Blackstone Valley Tech S.E.A club are accepting recycling donations of LDPE/HDPE films, newspaper sleeves, bread bags, product wrap, cereal liners, food storage bags, ice bags, pellet bags, produce bags, dry cleaning bags, grocery bags, case overwrap, packaging air pillows, and salt bags from community members.  Collection has begun and will continue through April 15, 2017. Any questions about the program at Valley Tech can be directed to Thomas Lamont at

About Jennifer Doyle

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