Mesquite ISD School Earns 1st Place for Texas in National Recycling Competition

Keep America Beautiful’s “Recycle Bowl” for K-12 Schools Is Sponsored by Nestle Waters

Dallas, TX, February 10, 2012  : Keep America Beautiful, Inc., the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization, today announced the Texas winner of “Recycle Bowl,” the first comprehensive nationwide recycling competition for K-12 students. First place in the Texas “School vs. School” division went to Sam Rutherford Elementary in Mesquite, TX, where students recycled a total of 19,657 pounds of recyclable material (38 pounds per capita), earning $1000 in prize money for the school. The contest is sponsored by Nestle Waters.

Mesquite ISD has demonstrated exceptional leadership in aligning administrators, teachers, and students, as well as janitorial and food service staff, in its recycling program

“We are excited to be the Texas statewide winner for the first annual Recycle Bowl,” said Holly Grubbs, principal of Sam Rutherford Elementary. “The real benefit was not winning the competition but the joy in educating our students who, in turn, educated their families and our community.”

With nearly 38,000 students and 5,000 employees, Mesquite ISD has made tremendous strides in reducing commercial solid waste since 2008, when it first launched its “Clean ‘N Green” campaign. The district was awarded grant funds from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to purchase recycling receptacles for 1,300 classrooms across 45 campuses, as well as administration buildings and two athletic stadiums. In just a year and a half, Mesquite ISD significantly reduced its tonnage of solid waste through recycling, thus reducing the volume of waste going to the landfill and reducing costs as well. Much of the program’s success has been due to campus green teams and the city’s partnership with waste hauler Republic Services.

Recycle Bowl helped Mesquite ISD bolster its commitment to recycling by equipping teachers with more tools for engaging students. According to Matt McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, “Participants reported the competition gave them a mechanism to start or improve their school’s recycling operations. Importantly, they tell us it also provided them with invaluable teaching moments about sustainability, math, science, and social studies.”

Anna Clark, president of Dallas-based consultancy EarthPeople, first introduced the Recycle Bowl to Mesquite ISD while designing and implementing an environmental education program in the district. “When I heard about this competition, I knew Mesquite ISD would make an ideal candidate. This district has demonstrated exceptional leadership in aligning administrators, teachers, and students, as well as janitorial and food service staff, in its recycling program. I am proud to see Sam Rutherford Elementary earn some well-deserved recognition and compensation for their efforts.”

EarthPeople is a consulting and communications firm that transforms organizations through profitable sustainability strategies. Since 2005, EarthPeople has helped create and implement corporate social responsibility initiatives for clients from startups and school districts to municipalities and Fortune 500 corporations. For more information, visit

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