WARRENSBURG - While garbage cans virtually everywhere the U.S. were overflowing with Christmas wrap destined for landfills, many Warrensburg residents' holiday trash was headed for a second life - to be used to keep people warm in winter.
Warrensburg High School environmental science students have launched a holiday wrap collection and recycling effort, and the wrap was destined for shredding and use as home insulation.
The paper collection drive features a competition between Warrensburg Central School faculty and students to amass the most volume of waste wrap.
WCS senior Zach Schuster said he saw an Internet news feed how millions of tons of holiday-season waste is generated annually, and he mentioned it in science class, and the group of juniors and seniors decided to take action.
"I brought in the information, and they ran with it," he said.
As of Jan. 3, the students in John Burns' Environmental Science Class collected enough bags of used Christmas wrap to fill about a quarter of their classroom almost to the ceiling. The scrap holiday wrap the students collected so far was about three times the volume of wrap WCS faculty had collected in the drive, senior Molly-Kate Webster noted.
"When students compete against faculty - like they did during our school's recent canned food drive - they really get involved," she said. "They want the bragging rights over the faculty."
Webster said she was impressed by how many students were participating.
"It's really cool to see people become more aware of environmental issues," she said.
Christmas wrapping paper isn't the only material being recycled at Warrensburg Central.
Burns said the school district has had a recycling program in operation for many years, but it was ramped up recently with plastic bins being placed in each classroom for waste paper.
The paper waste, along with trash cardboard, is then deposited in a bin behind the school, and is picked up by the Green Fiber enterprise, which shreds it into home insulation material after treating it with a fire-retardant.