Peoria Schools take on the Plastic Bag Challenge, save over one million bags from landfill

PEORIA – In November, the city of Peoria challenged students to keep plastic bags out of the recycle can by bringing them to school.

Eighteen schools stepped up, accepting the “Plastic Bag Challenge,” and collected 15,358 pounds of plastic in just five months. That equates to 1,105,776 plastic bags.

The bags were collected from the schools by Peoria’s recycling team and delivered to Bashas’ grocery store where they were transported for proper recycling.

The winner of the challenge was Vistancia Elementary with 2,937 pounds collected.

Sunset Heights Elementary came in second with 2,849 pounds collected.  As a reward, both schools will receive a student bench made from recycled plastic bags.

Plastic bags are recyclable, but they require special handling and do not belong in the recycle can.

“Plastic bags are the leading cause of recycling contamination,” said Kevin Burke Public Works Director. “This challenge was a great way to raise awareness for this growing problem and engage students in a fun way to help the environment.”

The city of Peoria is currently experiencing a high level of recycling contamination. Contamination occurs when trash is mixed with recyclables.  This can ruin an entire load and have an impact on solid waste service fees.

Plastic bags can be dropped off at your local grocery store for recycling. To learn more about what can and cannot be recycled, visit<