BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - To kick off the new year, Berkeley Heights passed the 3,000 milestone of thin film plastics collected in the seven Trex bins placed around town, including the newest one in Mountain Park Elementary School.  While the Berkeley Heights Environmental Commission (BHEC) initiated this Trex bin program, volunteers from the community have been the key to this program’s success. 

Most recently, volunteers from seven local Girl Scout troops – Troops 40906, 40398, 40950, 40136, 40538, 40208, and 40254 – collected and delivered the thin film plastics in the Trex bins  to ACME in New Providence, where these plastics are ultimately brought to Trex at their Virginia headquarters and used in the manufacturing of Trex’s outdoor furniture and decking products.  Elementary school, middle school, and high school girls of all grades and ages from these seven troops participated in this community service effort, with two troops of second graders being the youngest participants.

As part of the Trex Thin Film Plastics Recycling Challenge (Trex Challenge), if an organization registers with Trex and collects over 500 pounds of thin film plastics within a six-month period, Trex will send that organization a performance composite outdoor Trex bench. Having collected over 500 pounds of thin film plastics, the seven Girl Scout troops are collectively eligible to receive a Trex bench.  

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The Girl Scouts follow the BHEC, the Berkeley Heights Recreation Commission, and Sandy Hook Promise in earning a performance composite outdoor bench from Trex, making this the fourth Trex bench that volunteer organizations have earned for our community. The Girl Scouts have now rotated their collection and delivery responsibilities to the Rotary Club. 

January begins the seventh month of Berkeley Heights’ participation in the Trex Challenge. Anyone can drop off their thin film plastics – including items such as plastic bags, newspaper sleeves, dry cleaning wrap, cereal bags, bread bags, Ziploc bags, etc. in the seven Trex bins placed around town – at (1) the library, (2) the police station, (3) the YMCA,(4) Pet Supplies Plus, (5) Columbia Middle School, (6) Governor Livingston High School, and (7) Mountain Park Elementary School. The bins at these locations continue to provide a convenient way to recycle thin film plastics, which are no longer collected as part of the town’s curbside recycling program.

Mountain Park Elementary School is currently participating in a national Trex thin film plastics competition among schools. Students, parents, and staff from this school have been actively contributing to this newest Trex bin in town, located in the school’s entryway vestibule.  

The BHEC initiated collaborative efforts with the Trex Company in effort to raise residents’ awareness of their plastic consumption and provide a means of keeping thin film plastics out of landfills. Notably, in October 2018, the BHEC received an Environmental Achievement Award from the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissions in recognition of the success of the Trex bins and Trex Challenge in Berkeley Heights. 

Plastic bags, one of the most prevalent thin film plastic items, are a major source of plastic pollution.  Placing your thin film plastics in a Trex bin keeps this particular thin film plastic item from ending up in our waterways and harming wildlife.

The BHEC is looking for other organizations interested in assisting with the Trex bin collections.  If your organization would like to volunteer, please contact the BHEC.

Also, the BHEC encourages local businesses to volunteer to “sponsor” a Trex bin on a permanent basis.  In exchange for a business assuming the collection and delivery responsibilities for a particular Trex bin, the BHEC will permit that business to place its advertisements on the Trex bin.  Interested businesses should contact the BHEC by completing the form ag http://bh-ec.org/contact/.