BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Five months since the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission (BHEC) rolled out the Trex Thin Film Plastics Recycling Challenge (Trex Challenge) to the community, residents have not lost their momentum for doing their part to recycle thin film plastics and keep them out of landfills.  To date, as a result of the six Trex bins that the BHEC placed around town, residents have contributed over 2,100 pounds of thin film plastics.

The BHEC initiated this collaboration with the Trex Company, a Virginia-based company that repurposes thin film plastics and uses them in the outdoor decking and furniture that they manufacture.  As part of the Trex Challenge, if a particular organization collects over 500 pounds of thin film plastics within a six month period, Trex will send that organization a performance composite Trex bench.

To date, in addition to the BHEC, several other Berkeley Heights organizations have participated in the Trex Challenge by collecting thin film plastics from the Trex bins that the BHEC placed at the following six locations: (1) the library, (2) the police station, (3) the YMCA, (4) Pet Supplies Plus, (5) Columbia Middle School, and (6) Governor Livingston High School.  These organizations have included the Berkeley Heights Recreation Department as well as Sandy Hook Promise (also known as Start With Hello – BH). All three groups have earned a Trex bench, each of which will be placed in public areas within the Berkeley Heights community.

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“The Trex Challenge was a great initiative for Start With Hello – BH,” noted Karen Cassels Foote.  “It was an opportunity to bring a group of neighbors together and to bring awareness to the Sandy Hook Promise Programs, help the environment, and to earn a Start With Hello - BH Friendship Bench!”

In October, the BHEC received a 2018 Environmental Achievement Award from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions (ANJEC) at ANJEC’s 45th Annual Environmental Congress for the BHEC’s success in engaging the community in an effort to promote a cleaner, healthier environment through the Trex Challenge.  One of the exhibits at this event featured a display of 500 plastic bags, the average amount of plastic bags a person in New Jersey consumes within a single year.

Thus far, the Trex Challenge has provided additional community benefits.  Due to its central location, the library has become the site hosting the most popular Trex bin in town.  As a result, the library itself experienced a surge of foot traffic – particularly over this summer - notwithstanding its new, smaller location on Roosevelt Avenue.  

“It felt really great to give back, and show our commitment to the community in another way, as we continue our work with Sandy Hook Promise,” said volunteer Vicki Baum.  “As I left one collection site carrying a heavy bag, a woman with small children stopped me and asked ‘Are you one of the Sandy Hook Promise Volunteers? Thank you!’”

Any organization that is interested in participating in the Trex Challenge should contact the BHEC.  The BHEC will then reserve a place in the queue for groups who would like to participate in the Trex Bin collections by using the six Trex bins around town.