Trex launches 16th annual plastic film recycling challenge


 Learning to recycle just got more rewarding for local K-12 students. As a way of giving back to the communities where it manufactures its world-famous composite decking and railing, Trex Company has announced that it will present special awards to the area schools that recycle the most plastic film during this year’s Trex® Plastic Film Recycling Challenge, which officially kicks off Nov. 15, in conjunction with America Recycles Day. 

Now in its 16th year, the annual competition challenges students across the country to collect and recycle as much polyethylene (PE) plastic film as possible over a five-month period between America Recycles Day (Nov. 15) and Earth Day (April 22). Top-performing schools have opportunities to win cash prizes of as much as $7,500, provided by CNG, along with items produced with high-performance Trex products for their campuses. In addition to these national awards, Trex plans to recognize the top two elementary, middle and high schools in each of the company’s plant locations, which include Fernley, Winchester, Va., and Little Rock, Ark. 

“We are so excited about this new addition to our school recycling challenge,” noted Stephanie Hicks, materials sourcing manager for Trex Company. “Fernley and the surrounding areas represent much more than just a plant location to us. It’s where our employees live and where their children attend school. Our hope with these additional award opportunities is to encourage every school in the area to participate in this year’s challenge.” 

Built on eco-friendly values, Trex’s world-famous composite decking is sustainably made from 95% recycled materials, including a mix of industrial wood scrap and plastic film upcycled from common household items such as grocery/shopping bags, sandwich bags, case overwrap, newspaper sleeves and more. Each year, the company repurposes in excess of 1 billion pounds of reclaimed materials in the making of its products, including more than 430 million pounds of plastic film, making it one of the largest recyclers of PE in North America. 


“The Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge provides students with a firsthand appreciation for the importance of recycling and an understanding that value can be found in something that was once considered waste,” explained Hicks. “Our turnkey program brings together thousands of students from coast to coast in a joint effort to make a global impact on plastic waste.”  

For the second year, participants in the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge will have opportunities to win cash prizes for their schools, thanks to returning corporate sponsor Charter Next Generation (CNG). The leading provider of specialty PE films to the North American market will present $5,000 each to the individual elementary, middle and high schools that recycle the most plastic film in their categories during the collection period. Cash prizes of $3,000 and $2,500, respectively, will be awarded to the second and third place schools at each level. As extra motivation, CNG will award an additional $2,500 to the top recycling school overall – above and beyond their $5,000 category first-place prize. 

CNG will also present cash rewards to schools that most creatively promote their recycling efforts through social media using the designated hashtags #TrexRecyclingChallenge and #Recycle2Win. Schools will be evaluated on number of posts, quality of content and creativity used to drive awareness of their participation and the importance of recycling on social media. Those with the most impactful social campaigns will be awarded gifts of $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place. 

“We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Trex on the Plastic Film Recycling Challenge this year. By combining our efforts, Trex and CNG were able to bring the competition to more schools and recycle more material than in years past, which is directly in line with our commitment to being a sustainability leader in the industry. We are incredibly excited to build on that momentum and surpass our goal of over 1,000 schools participating in this year’s challenge,” said Kathy Bolhous, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Charter Next Generation.  

In addition to the prizes awarded by CNG, Trex will reward top recyclers based on grade level, school size and region. The winning schools per capita will earn high-performance Trex products to help beautify their campuses, and all participants in the Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge will receive a special gift from Trex in appreciation for their efforts and contributions. 

The Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge is easy to implement for schools of any grade level and size. Once enrolled, schools receive a turnkey kit complete with detailed instructions, promotional materials, recycling bins and a list of qualifying recyclable materials. Participants simply weigh and report collection totals to Trex each month throughout the collection period before delivering the recycled plastic to designated Trex drop-off points in their communities. Schools can track their success and standings throughout the program via a dedicated leaderboard at

“Over the past 16 years, we’ve seen first-hand how this fun and engaging initiative inspires students to make eco-conscious choices for their schools, communities and lives,” noted Hicks. “Thanks to the determination of these bright, dedicated students, Trex has been able to divert millions of pounds of discarded plastic film from ending up in waterways and landfills by repurposing it into beautiful, sustainable Trex decking.” 

The 16th annual Trex Plastic Film Recycling Challenge begins November 15, 2022, in conjunction with America Recycles Day. Schools can enroll by completing a short form at For more information, contact

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