Americans buy enough plastic film every year to shrink-wrap Texas, according to National Geographic. So, Will Heyniger, a Kean University (NJ) environmental science and sustainability professor, is working with students to raise awareness by collecting plastic waste – from bubble wrap to plastic bags – as part of the Trex Recycling Challenge. The group has 430 pounds so far and will receive a recycled plastic bench from Trex once they gather 70 more pounds.

The company’s recycling challenge has been available to schools and communities since 2006, giving them six months to collect 500+ pounds of polyethylene films or plastic that can be stretched. This type of plastic film can’t be recycled in regular home bins; instead it can be dropped off in special bins at stores like Wal-Mart, Shoprite, Target and Kohl’s, reported If put in landfills or incinerators, these plastic films release toxic chemicals, according to the World Health Organization.

“This project empowers students to elevate their knowledge of the volume of plastic the world generates and helps solve the plastic waste issue,” Heyniger said in a statement. He said that students see this project as a form of awareness and activism, getting their friends and families involved in the process.

Read more here.

Find a drop-off location for your plastic bags, film and wrap here.

And learn about the Trex Community & University Challenge Programs here.