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Urbandale, Iowa – Urbandale Parks and Recreation will soon have a new picnic table and bench at Lions Park made out of recycled materials, courtesy of the Build with Bags program.

The plastic bag recycling program, being led by the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, announced recently that Urbandale Parks and Recreation is one of 11 recipients of a Build with Bags grant award in 2018 and will receive $2,000 to purchase one picnic table and a bench made from recycled plastic bags by Plastic Recycling of Iowa. For example, one table represents approximately 20,000 bags that won’t end up in the landfill.

“We are excited to announce the winners of the Build with Bags grant program,” says Michelle Hurd, president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association. “The Build with Bags program continues to encourage individuals to recycle their plastic bags so those bags can be turned into products that beautify our communities. This year’s grant winners are reaping the rewards of their recycling efforts, and we hope other communities will follow suit and expand their recycling efforts.”

A total of 31 applications were submitted from which 11 winners were selected by a committee of four representatives in support of the Build with Bags program. Each committee member individually scored the applications, and the scores were combined for an overall point total. The top 11 applicants with the most points received grants totaling $21,337.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant through the Iowa Grocery Industry Association,” said Jan Herke, Director of Parks and Recreation. “Recycling is very important as waste can have a negative impact on our natural environment. A new picnic bench and picnic table made out of recycled materials will be a great way for residents to learn about the useful things that can be made from recycled bags.”

Prep Iowa

Now in its ninth year, the Build with Bags Grant program has awarded $305,461.52 in grants to more than 180 Iowa communities. 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 products they were looking to purchase and obtain an endorsement letter from a local grocer who 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 throughout the state of Iowa.

Store Director Scott James, who works at the Urbandale Hy-Vee, played an important role in making this grant possible. James wrote a letter of support on behalf of Urbandale Parks and Recreation that led to it being selected to receive a grant.

“While the endorsement letter was not the most weighted category in the selection process, it is one of the most vital to the Build with Bags program,” Hurd explains. “In the program committee’s eyes, it reflects how the applying community is working with its local grocers to establish long-term projects and goals that help raise 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 partners. The other three include increasing the amount of plastic bags recycled, reducing consumption of plastic bags and increasing the safe use of reusable bags.

The Urbandale Hy-Vee is one of many participating retailers, including Fareway Stores and Hy-Vee locations statewide plus many independent grocers.

Build with Bags, a cooperative effort of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, Keep Iowa Beautiful, Metro Waste Authority in Des Moines, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Plastic Recycling of Iowa Falls, was originally launched in August 2009.

About Urbandale: Urbandale, Iowa, is an award-winning community of more than 45,000 residents offering a unique combination of location, value, and community engagement to businesses and residents. Urbandale is located in the northwest part of the Des Moines Metro Area at the intersections of Interstate 35, Interstate 80, and Iowa 141. This unique geographic location allows Urbandale businesses and residents convenient access to a coast-to-coast and border-to-border transportation network.

Urbandale is a welcoming and vibrant community with affordable and accessible amenities for residents and businesses. From safe neighborhoods to acres of green space, Urbandale is uniquely positioned as an attractive place to raise a family, grow your business, and enjoy life. The City of Urbandale maintains one of the lowest municipal tax rates in the state, providing excellent services at an exceptional value. Each year hundreds of new residents make Urbandale their home—joining those who already enjoy our community’s extensive park and trail network, short commutes, great career opportunities, and excellent schools.

The City operates under a Council-Manager form of government. The City Manager carries out the policy direction of the Mayor and five City Council members. As a national leader in Character Counts, Urbandale endeavors at all times to promote and model the principles of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

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