RecycleMania 2012!

Bring out the banner and paint the tunnels because it’s that time of year again!! RecycleMania 2012 is underway!! Right now we are in the middle of the first two “trial weeks” and the competition officially runs from February 5th until March 31st. The University of Rochester has participated in this competition since 2007 among hundreds of schools nationwide. So far this year 515 schools have registered including some of our friends in Canada. Take a look at how great we did last year. Out of 363 colleges, we ranked 29 in the Gorilla contest and 43 in the Per Capital Challenge. Let’s all try our hardest to do even better this time around! This competition applies to the entire academic and research areas of the University, including the School of Medicine and Dentistry, the Memorial Art Gallery, the Eastman School of Music, and the new Saunders Research Building. So it takes everyone’s cooperation to pay close attention and make sure we are recycling all of the right materials in all the right ways.

Not familiar with RecycleMania? Let’s take a step back. The whole thing started in 2001 when Ohio University and Miami University challenged one another to see who could recycle the most in effort to raise awareness and increase recycling on their campuses. From there the idea took off and each year more schools wanted to join in on the fun and came up with creative ways to engage their own campuses. Currently there are five different category areas that schools can choose to compete in. The Grand Champion category combines trash and core recyclable materials to determine a school’s recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation. The goal of the Per Capita Challenge is to collect the largest combined amount of paper, cardboard, and bottles and cans per person. The Waste Reduction category awards the school who produces the least amount of municipal solid waste (both recyclables and trash) per person. The Gorilla Prize goes to the school with the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard and bottle and cans during the ten-week competition, regardless of campus population. The Targeted Materials category looks at the gross tonnage in four targeted material categories including Paper, Corrugated Cardboard, Bottles and Cans, and Food Service Organics. This year they are also piloting an electronics category.

So what is UR doing to promote RecycleMania this year? There will be chances to win prizes, socialize, learn some things, and have fun. A weekly trivia contest will be held in the Weekly Buzz, Recycling Races will be held on February 4th, tours of the local recycling facility on February 17th, the Basketball game on February 25th will promote RecycleMania, and there will be an Open Mic Night to finish off the event on March 31st. The annual Mt. Trashmore will be displayed on March 23rd. We have been in contact with some of our friends at RIT and might even start up a friendly competition between the two Rochester giants and engage in a social event together.

To make it all possible it takes a cooperative effort. Grassroots student members, Robert Simeral and Leah Mould are heading up this year’s promotional events. Our waste and recycling partner, Waste Management will be key in collecting the data and I, Amy Kadrie, am the official reporter and middle man to make sure competition runs smoothly. Students are at the heart and soul of this competition but it also takes the effort of faculty and staff. So, most importantly, is it up to everyone here at the University to think before you throw (please and thank you)!