With the onset of a new year, many people make efforts to better themselves and their communities. The start of the RecycleMania competition offers University of Rochester members a chance to kick off the year on the right foot; a “green” foot, that is! RecycleMania is a 10-week-long challenge during which participating colleges compete with other schools to reduce waste and recycle on their campuses. The competition serves as a great way to motivate students, faculty, and staff and highlight the existing systems on campus that encourage sustainable practices. The University has participated for the past six years and this year’s RecycleMania should be even better─ Meliora!
While the competition is a friendly one, it originally came about from a preexisting football rivalry between Ohio University and Miami University. After challenging each other to a successful recycling contest, the event caught on and became a national competition. Just like football, RecycleMania has a “preseason” that serves as a two-week practice round beginning on January 18th where schools can test their systems of recording recycling and waste reduction data. On February 1st, however, the real 8-week competition commences and the data starts to count towards each school’s score. Every week, rankings are updated using that score which allows the institutions to follow RecycleMania standings. The data is tallied at the end of the competition and winners in the following categories are announced in mid April:
- Grand Champion– institution with the best recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation
- Per Capita Classic– institution with the largest combined amount of recycled paper, cardboard, bottles, and cans per person
- Waste Minimization– institution that yields the least amount of solid waste per person
- Gorilla Prize– institution that recycles the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard, bottles, and cans independent of population
- Targeted Materials– institution that recycles the highest gross tonnage in the categories of Paper, Corrugated Cardboard, Bottles, Cans, Food Service Organics, and Electronics per capita, distinguishing it from the Gorilla Prize
This year, the RecycleMania Planning Committee consists of Facilities Team Green members Linda Shackles and Leslie Wolf, as well as Lilian Reynolds from student organization Grassroots. Wolf, class of 2015, says that she is excited for RecycleMania. “I think that it brings an awareness of proper recycling techniques to our campus. While we may have bins on campus, many people don’t know that they’re there.”
In the past, the University has been a strong competitor in the national challenge, finishing in the Top 25 in many categories last year. The 2015 planning committee is determined to achieve even more this year during RecycleMania and is thus putting forth large efforts to do just that. Other student groups are joining these efforts by cosponsoring RecycleMania through raising awareness, tabling, and hosting their own events. This year, cosponsors include GreenSpace, EcoReps, Engineers for a Sustainability World, Phi Sigma Sigma, Dining Team Green, and UR Microfarm. The formation of such a coalition of green groups on campus will certainly contribute to raising awareness of RecycleMania on campus.
The University of Rochester takes this competition beyond recycling. The theme of the competition will change each week and green groups cater the focus of their events to those themes. Themes vary from topics such as sustainable agriculture, water and energy conservation, and composting. As a part of Go Green week, the EcoReps will be hosting a Kickoff Party in Hirst Lounge where there will games, prizes, and food. During the recycling-themed week, Facilities Team Green is hosting a Basketball GameDay Challenge where they will promote both the University’s basketball team and recycling. For a schedule of all the RecycleMania events on campus each week, click here.
To find out more about RecycleMania, click here. Also, be sure to visit and like our UR Sustainable Facebook Page which will announce events and updates, post photos from the event, and contain promotions for the competition. We hope to see you at many of the upcoming events!
Written by Julie Elliot, Class of 2015