Chicago’s Pui Tak Christian School is the champion in the eighth annual Earth Month Challenge. At 2:30 p.m., on Thurs., May 29, Pui Tak received its $1,000 prize in an open-to-the-press school assembly.
USAgain, the for-profit textile recycling company that runs the competition each year, encouraged nationwide schools to get involved in the mission to reuse and recycle textiles. For its hard work and collection efforts, Pui Tak (located at 2301 S. Wentworth Ave.) collected a sum total of 4,415 pounds of deposits during Earth Month in April.
“We are so pleased to be receiving the first place prize for this competition,” said Bonnie Ho, Pui Tak Christian School’s principal. “Through the combined efforts of our school, Chinese Christian Union Church, Oak Park Bible Church, Wheaton Alliance Church and the Chinatown community, we are helping make the world a healthier and safer place for future generations by reducing textile waste.”
The other top four schools earned cash prizes ranging from $100 to $750.
Amador Valley High School (1155 Santa Rita Road in Pleasanton, California) earned $750 for collecting 3,868 pounds of textiles. Byron Cusd No. 226 (696 N. Colfax in Byron, Illinois) earned $500 for collecting 3,606 pounds of textiles. St. Clare School (214 West 3rd St., in O’Fallon, Illinois) earned $250 for collecting 2,712 pounds of textiles. And Brentwood Academy (2086 Clarke Ave., in East Palo Alto, California) earned $100 for collecting 2,557 pounds of textiles.
Over 600 schools participated in the contest, and all active participants earned funds for each pound of collected textiles. The total amount of textiles collected during the competition were 302,915 pounds, which resulted in preventing over 2.12 million pounds of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, saving over 424 million gallons of water, and avoiding approximately 1,730 cubic yards of landfill space. That’s enough room to fill up 69.2 garbage trucks.
“Earth Month Challenge is a great way for everyone to get involved in recycling ¾ teachers, students and community ¾ for free,” said Mattias Wallander, CEO of USAgain. “Their contributions will help clothe people in worldwide communities.”
Any clothing that cannot be reused in secondhand markets will be repurposed as industrial cleaning rags, furniture and/or car insulation and more.
The EPA estimates that 11.1 million tons of textiles end up in landfills, which leads to over 1.3 million pounds of CO2. Programs like the Earth Month Challenge help curb these pollution numbers and lend a hand to those in need at the same time.