WASHINGTON – Recycling has taken root at Greenbelt Park.
Two teams of children race in relays there each summer to distribute piles of used materials, ranging from glass to newspapers, into recycling bins, said park ranger Colleen Derber.
The annual event plants the seeds of a lifetime of recycling, she said.
The “Garbage Olympics” helped the park win one of 23 awards Friday from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments for outstanding efforts in recycling and reducing solid waste.
Greenbelt Park manager Lynn Pilgrim said many government agencies are required to recycle, but “we take it one step further and educate the public as well.”
The park – which was given a special citation for unusual effort – also recycles cans, paper, oil and old tires, Pilgrim said.
COG President and Bowie mayor Gary Allen said the businesses and institutions that won the awards are “responsible users of resources and deserve the region’s thanks for conserving, reusing and recycling.”
The region – consisting of Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and suburban Maryland – generated a massive amount of solid waste, said Stacy Pruitt, a COG spokeswoman.
Of the 315,500 tons of waste it produced in 1992, only 34,110 tons were recycled, she said.
The awards, given at the third annual Business Recycling Awards luncheon, are meant to promote awareness about the financial and environmental benefits of recycling, Pruitt said.
Awni Almasri, a pollution prevention manager at Andrew’s Air Force Base in Prince George’s County, estimated the installation saved $100,000 last year by reusing and selling base materials.
Capt. Bob Pompilio said the money saved “will eventually build playgrounds for kids and provide us with funds to hire people for new programs within the base.”
The base recycles about 40 percent of the solid waste it produces, Almasri said.
Other Maryland businesses winning awards were the Sligo Adventist School in Takoma Park, Telecommunications Techniques Corp. in Germantown, American Podiatric Medical Association in Bethesda and United Parcel Service in Laurel. The 23 businesses and agencies winning the awards were chosen from 86 entries from businesses and agencies located in the Washington area. To be eligible, they must have begun recycling by Jan. 1, 1994. -30-