Recyclemania 2016 Begins
For the seventh year in a row, the University will again partake in RecycleMania, a competition in which colleges and universities come together to promote the importance of recycling. RecycleMania originally emerged when a preexisting sports rivalry prompted a successful recycling competition between Ohio University and Miami University. Today, RecycleMania has become a great way for hundreds of U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities to showcase existing campus systems that promote sustainable practices. It also serves as a great way for University students, faculty, and staff to embrace the motto of “Meliora” as they truly try to make the campus ever better.
During the 8-week period of the RecycleMania competition, colleges compete to see who can recycle the most materials and produce the least amount of waste. Weekly updates on each school’s rankings are given to allow participants to better channel their competitive sides. Such competition boosts levels of recycling and waste reduction.
Efforts of reduction go towards trying to win recognition in the following categories:
- Grand Champion– awarded to the institution with the best recycling rate as a percentage of its overall generated waste
- Per Capita Classic– awarded to the institution with the largest combined amount of recycled paper, cardboard, bottles, and cans per person
- Waste Minimization– awarded to the institution that produces the least amount of solid waste per person
- Gorilla Prize– awarded to the institution that recycles the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard, bottles, and cans, independent of population
- Targeted Materials – awarded to the institution that recycles the highest gross tonnage in the categories of Paper, Corrugated Cardboard, Bottles, Cans, and Food Service Organics
This year, to increase the stakes, RecycleMania is also introducing a new category: Most Improved, which recognizes the school that shows the greatest percentage improvement against their 2015 RecycleMania results.
Tim Kwan and Kristi Thomas spin the RecycleMania Trivia Wheel with Facilities Team Green intern Mariah Greico (all members of the class of ’18)
To enhance the University of Rochester’s efforts in 2016, Facilities Team Green hopes to rev up the collective competitive spirit by working with Dining Team Green, GreenSpace, Engineers for a Sustainable World, Grassroots, EcoReps, and GlobeMed as the event planning committee. Each of these student organizations are teaming up and reaching out to the greater student body to participate in various promotional events. Facilities Team Green Sustainability Assistant intern Ciara McGillivray says of the University’s RecycleMania event planning committee, “This year, we’re doing RecycleMania differently in that we’re trying to plan less events [in number] and make them bigger to increase attendance.”
With the official start of the competition this past weekend, the planning committee hosted the RecycleMania 2016 Kickoff Party which featured multiple activities, including a trivia game with prizes, a reusable coffee mug decorating station, and instruction on making a sub-irrigated planter out of a plastic bottle. In March, there will be a lecture series hosted by Engineers for a Sustainable World dedicated in part to the message of RecycleMania. Early April will mark the end of the spirited competition with a finale event on the River Campus. The finale event will feature Mount Trashmore, an effort by Grassroots to provide a visual display of the amount of trash generated on the River Campus.
With RecycleMania 2016, the University hopes to continue the momentum derived from last fall’s GameDay Recycling Challenge. With the help of volunteers from EcoReps, Waste Management, and the men’s baseball team, the University collected 734 lbs. of recyclables, 50 lbs. of organics, and 53 lbs. of trash during the Meliora Weekend football game. By itself, the University of Rochester’s GameDay Recycling Challenge resulted in a greenhouse gas reduction of 1.2 total MTCO2E. This accounted for the University’s first ever recorded true zero waste event. To be considered a “zero waste” event, the University had to divert over 90% of its wastefrom going into landfills and incinerators. The University beat this goal by coming in at 93%. This success, as well as our past success in RecycleMania, was achieved in part due to extra steps taken by our partner Waste Management.
To find out more about the efforts of RecycleMania, visit the UR Sustainable Facebook Page for updates, photos, promotions, and a complete schedule of this year’s RecycleMania events. Be sure to “like” the page to stay in the loop. Last, you could get “Caught Green Handed” by recycling!
Written by Darya Nicol, class of 2016