Detroit schools compete to recycle the most phone books

Detroit schools compete to recycle the most phone books

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These Detroit students are doing some heavy lifting to help the planet, and they're doing it with smile.

We caught up with the Green Team at Emerson Elementary and Middle School unloading about 1,200 phone books. This is just one of 15 Detroit schools that spent weeks collecting the books as part of "Project Re-directory," a recycling contest to keep all of this good paper from going to waste.

"Every day people kill trees and throw the paper in the garbage," said  one student. "We're re-using it and turning it into brand new paper."

The students had some good incentives. The class with the most phone books gets a pizza party. The top five recycling schools win cash prizes of up to $500 from YP. the contest sponsor.

"That gives the kids an opportunity to learn about their role in the environment... using this project as the actual example," said Charlotte Shepherd with YP.

"It's part of the science curriculum and the kids are just excited about," added Principal Brenda Carethers.

The phone books all go to recycle at Detroit's Recycling Center. Eventually, they'll be turned into rulers, egg cartons, cereal boxes and even home insulation.

"So far, we have 10,000 books collected in two short months," said Rachel Klegon with Living Green Science, who is overseeing the program.

Emerson has won first prize in the past. This year's winners will be announced during a special Earth Day program on April 27.

If you'd like to stop getting a phone book at your house, log on to to opt-out.

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