Every day, large quantities of milk and juice are consumed in schools across the country, so it’s a natural fit for schools to develop and implement school-based carton recycling programs. Recognizing the fast-growing pace of carton recycling, this year Keep America Beautiful (KAB, www.kab.org) created a special category for carton recycling in its popular annual competition called Recycle-Bowl.

The Carton Council of North America (www.RecycleCartons.com) sponsored the new Recycle-Bowl award category for participating schools that recycled the most cartons. A total of 16,347 pounds of cartons were recycled by 27 participating elementary and middle schools from across the country. The Kodak Park School #41 in Rochester, NY, won, recycling the most milk and juice cartons per capita (6.4 pounds, or a total of 3,200 pounds). In addition to national bragging rights, the school was awarded $500 from the Carton Council award.

Kodak Park School #41 is an elementary school with a strong recycling ethic. They were also recognized as the New York Recycle-Bowl champion by KAB for their overall recycling efforts, earning them an additional $1,000.

“Cartons have long been schools’ number one container choice,” says Jason Pelz, vice president, environment, Tetra Pak North America, and vice president of recycling projects for Carton Council of North America. “By recycling cartons, schools are helping to develop confident, green-savvy students while also reducing their school’s environmental impact. We are proud of Kodak Park School #41 and all of the Recycle-Bowl competitors for integrating carton recycling into their programs, and we encourage other schools to start a program.”

Now in its second year, KAB’s Recycle-Bowl strives to invigorate student participation in recycling through a national competition. Its objectives are to help establish new recycling programs within schools, increase recycling rates in schools that already recycle, and provide teachers and students with educational opportunities about recycling and waste reduction.

“Keep America Beautiful is pleased with the great momentum Recycle-Bowl has achieved, and our congratulations go out not just to Kodak Park School #41, but to all of the students, teachers and school administrators who work so hard to support recycling across America,” says Matt McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “Recycle-Bowl provides teachers with a great opportunity to integrate math, science and sustainability lessons into classroom curricula through experiential education, as well as a way to introduce recycling into a school’s general operations.

From October 15 through November 9, 2012, participating schools were challenged to recycle as much as possible. The total amount of recyclables recovered during the 2012 competition added up to 4.5 million pounds, which in turn prevented the release of nearly 1,717 metric tons of carbon equivalent (MTCE). In real-world terms, this reduction in greenhouse gases is equivalent to the annual emissions from 334 passenger cards.