Rockdale Career Academy student Thom Hoang, left, learns about the different types of plastics at Solo Cup Monday for America Recycles Day. Solo Cup invited RCA students to a lunch-and-learn session on recycling and discussed how the company is using recycled materials in its manufacturing processes. Along with Hoang is Amy Carter, RCA Engineering and Technology teacher, and Jeff Rogers, RCA youth apprenticeship coordinator. Breck Armstrong, Solo Cup process engineer, is seated in the back. Suggested Headline: RCA students learn about recycling at Solo Cup
CONYERS -- Rockdale Career Academy students attending a lunch-and-learn session at Solo Cup Monday discovered the difference between polyethylene terephthalate and polyvinyl chloride as part of the company's community outreach for America Recycles Day.
Engineers with Solo Cup and RCA technology teachers met with the students to give an overview of the sustainability of recycling and trade-offs involved facing industries. The group discussed the differences among recycled, recyclable and compostable items.
They also went on a plant tour and observed single-use food products being manufactured in thermoforming, straws, injection molding and printing.
America Recycles Day is held each year on Nov. 15 and is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and buy recycled products, according to the proclamation signed by President George W. Bush in 1997 establishing America Recycles Day.
America Recycles Day has been a program of Keep America Beautiful since 2009, and is sponsored by private and public entities, including global aluminum company Novelis, stationery firm Staples, waste firm Waste Management Recycle America, the American Beverage Association and the EPA.
Solo Cup has worked on developing more recyclable products over the years. Through its Bare by Solo line, Solo offers the broadest and first nationally available selection of food service and consumer products made using recycled, recyclable, compostable or renewable materials, according to Lisa Phillips, Solo Cup human resources manager.
Eco-forward is a term unique to Solo, Phillips said. It expresses our ongoing commitment to developing greener alternatives that contribute to a more environmentally sustainable future.
The students also became familiar with plastic resin codes and learned what is collected in their town's recycling program.
Phillips said the students investigated the most common type of plastic in their classrooms and homes. She explained that the code on a plastic item does not indicate whether or not a recycler accepts the item, but does identify what kind of plastic it is made from.
The students and Solo Cup engineers discussed the six types of plastic defined by The Society of Plastic Industries and the meaning of the numbers within the chasing arrows on the bottom of the item. As part of America Recycles Day, community members are also encouraged to support local recycling programs in their community.
The Rockdale County Recycling Center at 1200 Sigman Road offers household plastic container drop-off free of charge for recycling. The center accepts three types of commonly-used plastics clear and green plastic bottles marked #1 PETE, plastic milk and water jugs marked #2 HDPE, and colored plastic containers marked #2 HDPE.
The center requests the containers be rinsed out and caps removed for recycling. For more information, go to the Keep America Beautiful Web site at www.americarecyclesday.org.