DES MOINES -- Cherokee parks are getting a makeover courtesy of Build with Bags.
The plastic bag recycling program being led by Iowa grocers announces today that the Cherokee Parks and Recreation Department is one of 24 recipients of a Build with Bags grant award in 2011. The organization receives a grant of $1,946 to obtain seven trash receptacles for parks within the community.
"We are honored to announce the winners of the Build with Bags Grant Program in its second year," said Jerry Fleagle, president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association. "The communities being awarded display some of the tangible advantages associated with recycling plastic bags, and we hope the program will encourage individuals to continue their recycling efforts."
A total of 36 applications were submitted for consideration of a grant. The 24 winners were selected by a committee of five representatives in support of the Build with Bags program. Each committee member individually scored applications prior to meeting as a group to combine the scores for an overall point total. The applicants with the most points created the recipient list that was awarded a grand total of $44,318.46.
Applications were evaluated based on set criteria that included a statement of need for the grant and the community's own plastic bag recycling efforts. Grant applicants were also asked to verify the recycled plastic content in the furniture they were looking to purchase and obtain an endorsement letter from a local grocer that is supportive of the community's project and recycling plans.
Geographic location also played a factor as the committee wanted to disperse the grant awards all across the state of Iowa.
"While the endorsement letter was not the most weighted category in the selection process, it is possibly one of the most vital to the Build with Bags program," Fleagle said. "In the program committee's eyes, it reflects how serious the applying community is about working with its local grocers to establish long-term projects and goals that can only help increase the awareness of plastic bag recycling."
Encouraging purchases of furniture and equipment made from recycled plastic for parks and schools through its grant program is one of four goals established by Build with Bags. The other three include doubling the amount of plastic bags recycled between January 2010 and December 2011, reducing consumption of plastic bags and increasing use of reusable bags.
Participating retailers, including all Dahl's Foods, Fareway Stores and Hy-Vee locations statewide, are helping to highlight the announcement of the grant winners and celebrate Earth Day with a two-week, Build with Bags promotional effort through May 2. Most stores are using program-branded plastic bags to accentuate the program, in addition to displaying Build with Bags posters in the entry ways of stores near plastic bag recycling barrels bearing the initiative's logo and slogan.
Build with Bags, a cooperative of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, Keep Iowa Beautiful, Metro Waste Authority in Des Moines, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and The Des Moines Register, was originally announced last August at the 2009 Iowa State Fair. It was rolled out in participating stores with a two-week promotion in January.