Get Ready For RecycleMania 2014!

It’s time for the University of Rochester community to rally its competitive spirit. January 19th marked the kickoff of the exciting nationwide contest, RecycleMania! Every year, hundreds of universities across the country engage in this 10-week long competition to find out which institution can recycle the most material. The University of Rochester has participated in the Competition Division for the past five years, and is eager to return.

The process begins with a two-week practice period, which allows participants to begin tracking their data and plan for their events. Then on February 2, RecycleMania moves into its competitive phase for the following eight weeks where the data reported counts towards scoring. When the results are tallied, universities are recognized in five different categories:

  • Grand Champion – awarded to the school with the best recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation
  • Per Capita Classic – awarded to the school with the largest combined amount of recycled paper, cardboard, bottles, and cans per person
  • Waste Minimization – awarded to the school that produces the least amount of solid waste per person
  • Gorilla Prize – awarded to the school that recycles the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard, bottles, and cans independent of population
  • Targeted Materials – awarded to the school that recycles the highest gross tonnage in the categories of Paper, Corrugated Cardboard, Bottles, Cans, Food Service Organics, and Electronics

Last year the University did an outstanding job, ultimately recycling the equivalent of 1,190 metric tons of CO2 equivalent and contributing to the success of the nationwide event. The bar has been set high, but the University is prepared to raise it even higher this year. Facilities Team Green student interns and Grassroots are spearheading the RecycleMania Planning Committee. Many other student groups are cosponsoring the event, including GreenSpace, UR Microfarm, EcoReps, Dining Team Green, Psi Upsilon, Sigma Alpha Mu, Chi Omega, and Sigma Delta Tau. To cosponsor, organizations raise awareness for the competition by tabling and hosting their own events. These organizations’ dedication to sustainability at the University of Rochester is truly appreciated and will surely make the event a success.

All of these groups have been planning environmentally friendly activities. Each week of the competition will have a theme, such as a water week, energy week, agriculture week, and recycling week, and will include events pertaining to these themes. For example, Facilities Team Green is hosting the Basketball Game Day Challenge, which aims to recycle as much material as possible from the home basketball game on February 21st. During “get creative” week, Dining Team Green and Sigma Delta Tau  will be teaching groups how to make flowers out of recycled plastic bottles which will then be used create a garden display on campus.  Grassroots will hold its annual Mt. Trashmore event appropriately during landfill trash week.

Another activity taking place throughout the competition is that EcoReps will be on the lookout for individuals acting in sustainable ways, such as turning off the lights or recycling their plastic lunch containers, and they will surprise those individuals with prizes! RecycleMania Planning Committee member Lauren Henry explained that she thinks the University of Rochester community already acts in sustainable ways every day, so the EcoReps’ prizes and the competition overall will be a great way to reinforce sustainable lifestyle habits.

One of the RecycleMania Planning Committee’s goals this year is to focus on increasing awareness and involvement in RecycleMania. “We reached out to different groups, trying to include more people on campus who wouldn’t traditionally be involved in a recycling or sustainability event,” Henry said. The wide array of student organizations cosponsoring the event demonstrates the committee’s success in achieving that goal. Hopefully this larger sector of the community will enjoy the event and help the University of Rochester become a top contender.

For the full schedule of this year’s RecycleMania events click here. The UR Sustainable Facebook Page will feature updates, photos, promotions and more throughout the competition, so be sure to “like” the page to stay in the loop. For any other questions contact Recycling Coordinator Amy Kadrie.

For all other RecycleMania information, such as resources, participating schools, and the awards process visit

Written by Abigail Fagan, Class of 2014


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