March 2016
Youth Matters

Pals: Wrappers, Paper and Plastic, Oh My!


Pine Level Elementary is thinking “beyond the trashcan.”

Over 750 students from Pine Level Elementary School recently heard about how to do their part in keeping Alabama more beautiful and litter-free. The school recently joined the Clean Campus Program and wanted to learn more about how their school can make a difference. They already have an ongoing recycling program, so they are off to a great start!

The students learned to think about where wrappers, paper and bottles end up when they are done with them. They learned that if a plastic bottle ends up as litter or in a landfill it can take up to 450 years for it to biodegrade. The students saw pictures of landfills and litter to get them thinking “beyond the trashcan.” They then heard all about recycling and were shown pictures of a recycling facility. I showed them several items made from recycled materials so they could see how much better it is for plastic and paper to be given a new life rather than end up in a landfill or on the side of the road somewhere.

In 2012, according to the EPA, Americans threw away over 164 million tons of trash that ended up in landfills. Nearly 80 percent of that trash could have been recycled. Those are staggering numbers!

Thankfully, we have schools like Pine Level Elementary who see the value in recycling!

Could a school near you benefit from hearing more on the Clean Campus Program? Just have them give me a call at 334-263-7737 or send me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. They can also look us up online at to sign up for the Clean Campus Program.

Jamie Mitchell is the PALS State Clean Campus Coordinator.