H-E-B helps expand recycling in HCISD school cafeterias

H-E-B provided Harlingen CISD with a $30,000 grant that allowed for the purchase and installation of a StyroGenie machine.

A day before Earth Day, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Travis Elementary.

“The machine will take Styrofoam trays and reduce them to a liquid that will then, when it cools down, become a one-by-two-foot block that weighs between 12 and 15 pounds,” Child Nutrition Director Judy Baker said. “After we collect enough of those, then they will be sent off to a recycling center, and they will be emulsified and turned into reusable products.”

The StyroGenie will be installed at Travis Elementary, but Bowie Elementary and Zavala Elementary will also take part in this recycling effort.

“Our students here at Travis and our students at Bowie and Zavala are going to have an opportunity to not only learn about the importance of recycling but also be able to see the latest technology available,” Superintendent Dr. Alicia Noyola said. “We are starting to really see technology take off and how it is starting to impact all of us. I am super excited that here in Harlingen, we have the opportunity to kick this off because once it starts in one place, people see it and want to also be a part of that magic. Thank you, H-E-B, for your continued partnership.”

HCISD will lead the way in this first-of-its-kind initiative in this area of the Valley.

“Thank you so much for your diligent work and the great insight and this entire recycling infrastructure, “Audrey Trevino-Guerra with H-E-B Border Public Affairs said. “This is going to be such an amazing part of our environmental efforts in the RGV. We are proud with our partnership with HAEF, to implement this wonderful plan that will reduce foam plate waste and bring awareness to environmental and recycling practices for years to come.”

The StyroGenie will allow the school district to dramatically reduce the amount of polystyrene that is sent to the landfills.

“It is our responsibility to teach our children to value and respect our environment,” Board President Dr. Bobby Muniz said. “By installing the StyroGenie unit and promoting recycling practices, we hope to set a positive example for our students and the wider community. We are grateful for the support of H-E-B in this important work, and we look forward to seeing the impact of the StyroGenie in our schools and our community.”