Students from 16 schools are competing in an eight week challenge. This is week six and so far, students have collected over 2,000 pounds of plastic bags and film.
Park Forest Elementary is in the lead, but Grays Woods Elementary is only trailing by one pound.
It's a fierce competition that's teaching a big lesson.
"We've collected a lot," Park Forest third grader, Gabe Hicknea, said. "I hope we win this."
Hicknea wants to win.
"It helps the earth and plastic bags can be made into lumber and other plastic bags," he said.
He and fellow classmate, Mariele Wasson are in the lead for now with 455 pounds of plastic bags collected.
"Every day, if we fill up a bag, it's sent off to the recycling center," Wasson said.
"There are about 600 people in the building on a daily basis and to get as close to zero waste as we're getting through all of the efforts of everyone has been outstanding," Park Forest Principal Donnan Stoicovy, said.
Stoicovy said recycling is an important lesson for these students and they're taking it seriously.
"I'm hearing from parents how it's spilling over into their home," she said. "Now they're doing more with composting, recycling. Our efforts are rippling out into the community, which hopefully will make a big difference."
Amy Schirf is in charge of the competition. She said it's important people remember it's not just about the plastic bags.
"If it's a plastic wrapping, dry cleaning bags, bread bags, those can also go back to the grocery store," she said.
All of the schools will get a plastic lumber park bench for participating in the competition, which are made from 10,000 plastic bags each. The top two schools will get enough recycled lumber to make a raised garden bed and $50 in seed and compost money to grow a garden.
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