Earth Day Is Everyday For CVESD Students

Earth Day isn’t just April 22nd for students in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. The school district is doing its part to help keep California green everyday by participating in a program that recycles students’ foam lunch trays. The school district, in conjunction with P&R Paper Supply, participates in the “Going the Extra Mile” foam recycling program. The recycling program generates financial savings for the District, while teaching students an important lesson in sustainability.

“This program helps us reinforce the importance of recycling to our students, and our hope is that they take these practices and apply them at home,” said Francisco Escobedo, Ed.D., Superintendent of the Chula Vista Elementary School District. “P&R Paper Supply has been a great partner in helping us save money that would have been spent on waste collection. Students have learned how recycling benefits the environment by reducing waste.”

All 44 of the school district’s campuses participate in the recycling program. The school district is currently recycling 90,000 foam lunch trays each week.  By recycling the foam trays –often mistakenly referred to as Styrofoam–CVESD schools are helping campuses reduce their waste and diverting waste from the landfill. In turn, this has allowed for a reduction in trash pick-ups per week. The foam trays for recycling are picked up once a week by a P&R Hybrid truck, and taken to Dart Container Corporation in Corona, Calif., where they are processed for recycling. 

“This program not only helps our school districts on costs associated with trash pick-up, but it also gives students the chance to be involved in keeping California green, which is a wonderful thing,” said Joe Maiberger, Chief Financial Officer of P&R Paper Supply. “It is a great feeling to know that students participating in this program are learning the importance and strategies to keep California beautiful.”

The foam lunch trays get a second chance that extends well beyond cafeteria use. In fact, all of the trays go from Dart to a local manufacturer in Chino, Calif., NEPCO, which then uses the material to make beautiful picture frames and crown molding.

Foam lunch trays are not the only polystyrene foam products that can be recycled. In fact, 24 communities in San Diego County that receive service from EDCO Disposal, are also able to place foam products in their curbside blue recycling bin to be recycled. The communities are, Alpine, Bonita, Bonsall, Coronado, Dictionary Hill, Encinitas, Escondido, Fallbrook, Imperial Beach, Julian, La Mesa, Lakeside, Lemon Grove, Lincoln Acres, Mt. Helix, National City, Poway, Rainbow, Ramona, Rancho Santa Fe, San Marcos, Spring Valley, Valley Center, Vista

Polystyrene foam can be identified by a #6 – PS symbol inside a triangle, often found at the bottom of the material. It has a wide variety of uses, from the large molded blocks used to package electronics such as TVs and computers, to food service packaging such as foam cups, bowls, and “clamshell” take-out containers.

About the Chula Vista Elementary School District

Located between the City of San Diego and the United States/Mexico International Border, the Chula Vista Elementary School District is high performing, and frequently honored for student academic achievement. Its 44 schools serve 28,700 students, primarily in grades K-6. Each District school has exceeded the state’s Academic Performance Index goal of 800, and 25 percent have API scores above 900—matching up with the best schools anywhere in San Diego County.


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