Ohef Sholom Temple is turning plastic bags into benches

February 18, 2021

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It seems they’re everywhere. Plastic bags are choking sea life, clogging up waterways, and blowing in the wind through streets and yards.

Ohef Sholom Temple is helping to do something about it.

OST joined the Trex Community Challenge two years ago. Trex is a company in Winchester, Va., that takes those pesky bags and other plastic film and manufactures railing and decking material out of them. They also sponsor a program for non-profit organizations to collect plastic and turn it in for Trex to recycle into their products. If those organizations collect a minimum of 500 pounds of plastic in six months, they earn a bench.

Christina Verderosa, a member of Ohef Sholom Temple’s Eco-Judaism committee, saw how well the program worked with her Master Gardeners’ group in Newport News and started the collections at OST. Members brought their plastic to the Temple for collection and recruited their friends, relatives, and clubs to contribute. So far, OST has collected more than 2,000 lbs. of plastic and has earned four benches.

The first two benches are in one of the temple’s hallways.

With the third collection, the program began reaching out to the community to place benches with other organizations. Sharon Nusbaum, an OST board member, also serves on the board of Virginia Supportive Housing, which provides housing and other services to the homeless. Gosnold Apartments, a VSH facility located not far from OST, received a bench in November. The fourth bench is on its way and will be presented to Ghent United Methodist Church, across the street from Ohef Sholom.

There have been a lot of horror stories about material that is meant for recycling ending up in landfills or being shipped to other countries. With this project, participants know exactly where their plastic goes.

The Community Challenge program is open to temples, churches, clubs, and other non-profit organizations. For more information visit https://www.trex.com/recycling/recycling-programs/

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