For the past 20 years, the University of Tennessee’s Good Sports Always Recycle program has rewarded schools across the state for their environmental efforts. This year, 11 schools were recognized and rewarded with more than $11,000 to support their programs.
The top ten school environmental programs in the state of Tennessee are:
- Hixson Middle School in Hixson
- Willow Brook Elementary in Oak Ridge
- East Side Elementary in Chattanooga
- Franklin County High School in Winchester
- Portland High School in Portland
- Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville
- Lipscomb Elementary School in Nashville
- Three Oaks Middle School in Dyersburg
- White Station High School in Memphis
- New Hope Christian Academy in Memphis
Each school was awarded $1,000 to support its environmental program. Additionally, Ivy Academy in Soddy Daisy was recognized as the Good Sports Always Recycle Sustainability Steward, and the school received $1,500 for its efforts.
“As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the program, we look to the next generation to help lead the movement toward a sustainable future,” Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau said. “These schools have implemented exceptional environmental programs and serve as role models for all communities.”
The GSAR school challenge judges Tennessee’s K-12 schools on how their environmental programs encourage faculty, staff and students to recycle, as well as the unique approach and overall investment applied to their overall environmental efforts. The Sustainability Steward award is given to a school that approaches sustainability by reducing their overall waste footprint through energy and water conservation, recycling programs and the use of green space.
“Each year we see entries from schools across the state that are doing amazing things in their schools and communities to help their environment,” said Anne Kilgore, director of Global Sustainability for Eastman Chemical Company. “We want to congratulate everyone who was nominated this year, and while everyone can’t win, schools that are teaching students about environmental stewardship are doing a service that is vital to our future, and we applaud your hard work.”
Ms. Kilgore said that she hopes the friendly competition among Tennessee’s K-12 schools will encourage other schools to start or ramp up their environmental programs. The school challenge has recognized more than 200 Tennessee schools and provided more than $110,000 for their recycling, environmental and sustainability efforts.
“Not only does the GSAR program reach out to our state’s schools, it has spent the past two decades improving recycling efforts at one of the state’s most popular venues—Neyland Stadium,” said Ron Bonacci, Food City vice president of marketing. “Today we can be proud that we have one of the largest and most successful programs in the nation.”
Along with the school challenge, the stadium recycling portion of the program includes more than 1,000 recycling containers which are placed in and around Neyland Stadium and the other sports complexes at the University of Tennessee. During the 2012 football season UT recycled, composted, and donated more than 67 tons, resulting in a 36 percent diversion rate from the landfill. In 2013, the goal is to reach a 50 percent diversion rate, with hopes of reaching zero waste.
“Reducing waste at large events is a tough job to tackle, and the GSAR program has done a tremendous job over the last 20 years,” said Steve Lafollette, East Tennessee division vice president for Waste Connections. “We are proud to be part of this program, and we know as we look toward the future, the GSAR program will continue to evolve and encourage our schools’ efforts, as well as serve as a national example of a stadium-based recycling program.”
The Good Sports Always Recycle program is sponsored by Eastman Chemical Company, Food City and Waste Connections, in conjunction with the University of Tennessee.