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'Recycle Rex' leads tour

State's recycling mascot helps school officials teach the importance of recycling materials.

October 07, 2006|By Ani Amirkhanian

Students from Miller Elementary School emptied bags of aluminum cans and plastic bottles into recycle containers during a tour of the Burbank Recycle Center on Wednesday.

The tour was in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the California Refund Value program, the state's largest recycling program, established in 1986.

The students toured the facility with Bridgett Luther, director of the California Department of Conservation.

"We've recycled enough material to cover the entire California [Interstate] 5," Luther said to the students.

As the students dumped the items into the recycling containers, the recycling-center staff weighed the cans and bottles on a scale.

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One barrel of aluminum cans weighed in at 4.8 pounds and another barrel of plastic bottles came in at 8.5 pounds.

The recyclable cans and bottles would bring in about a 4-cent return for each item, Luther said.

"It's important to recycle because it will help our community and it will help us save electricity," said Steven Estiban, 8, as he emptied a bag of cans into a container.

But Luther gave the students more of an incentive to recycle.

Beginning Jan. 1, consumers will get more cash back, thanks to the passage of Assembly Bill 3056, which was recently signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, she said.

The bill raises the amount of the California Refund Value so that consumers will receive a nickel for containers less than 24 ounces and a dime for containers 24 ounces and larger.

"We are proud of the program," Luther said. "We want to remind people that it's important."

Tamara Kaputikyan 9, said she recycles paper, bottles and aluminum cans.

"It's good to recycle to help the Earth," Tamara said. "It's so we can be healthy."

At the end of the tour, students got a chance to meet with one of the state's biggest supporters of recycling.

Recycle Rex, the dinosaur mascot of the California Department of Conversation, met with students and had his picture taken with them.

But for student Gilbert Nazari, 8, recycling is more than just keeping the environment clean.

"We recycle so we can make new stuff out of old stuff," Gilbert said.

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