BAG CHALLENGE: Kids compete to cut down on plastic bags

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Kids are cracking down on the use of plastic bags in a competition to make grocery shopping a little greener.

The hardest part of making the switch to reusable shopping bags is usually just remembering to bring them in. But now more than thirty metro schools are helping families make it a habit through some friendly competition.

In the entry way of Delaware Elementary lately, this isn't an unusual sight: a mountain of trash bags all filled with plastic grocery bags.

Kids here have been collecting them all month as part of the Build with Bags challenge. It's a competition between metro schools to cut down on the use of plastic bags.

Schools get points for bringing in bags to recycle the right way--through grocery stores instead of metro waste authority's bins.

"Don't put them in our containers," said Tom Hadden, the Executive Director at Metro Waste Authority. He says the bags can get caught in the gears of machines that are used to sort recycled products and "it causes a lot of problems," he said. With special key cards, kids can also earn more points while shopping with their parents.

"How many reusable bags they use, say for instance its three or four, the clerk just swipes the tags three or four times into the system and its recorded automatically," said Jerry Fleagle, the Executive Director of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association.

"At first I thought it was going to be really hard to, because little kids, they're not very good at telling their parents things," said fifth grader Alisia Wadsworth.

But kids and their parents are catching on. In four weeks, the school has logged the use of more than 1,900 reusable bags and collected more than 300 pounds of the plastic kind to recycle.

The top schools in the Build with Bags challenge will receive a piece of outdoor furniture for the school yard, such as a picnic table or park bench, made out of recycled plastic.