Game On: Recycling Competition Taps College Rivalry Tradition
This week marks the beginning of RecycleMania, an eight-week, tournament-type competition among colleges and universities that encourages more recycling on campus.
Recycling becomes a sport this week at 461 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada.
More than 5 million students and 1 million faculty and staff members are participating in the 14th annual RecycleMania, a friendly competition that plays on college rivalries to encourage and promote recycling on school campuses.
Sponsored and supported by a number of organizations, including the American Forest and Paper Association and the College and University Recycling Coalition, the competition runs over an eight-week period coinciding with the NCAA basketball tournament and allows participants to track and benchmark the amount of recyclables collected at their institutions.
“Programs like RecycleMania motivate people to recycle and to measure the results of their efforts,” Donna Harman, president and CEO of the American Forest and Paper Association, said in a statement. “The paper industry has achieved noteworthy recovery goals for years, and we thank the millions of individuals who make the choice to recycle every day. Our industry has pledged to exceed 70 percent recovery of our products for recycling by 2020, and initiatives like RecycleMania will help us get there.”
To compete, schools submit the amount of materials, in pounds, that are recycled in 11 categories (including paper, paper-based packaging, aluminum, plastic bottles, electronics,and others) at the end of each of the eight weeks. Totals are then published online so schools can see how they measure up against competitors. Last year 523 schools collected 91 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials.
“RecycleMania is exciting because it builds on traditional college rivalries by adding recycling to the list of things that schools can brag about when it comes to their archrivals,” said Stacy Wheeler, president of RecycleMania, Inc., the nonprofit that manages the competition. “The competition aspect of the event makes it fun and helps to encourage everyone on the entire campus to make recycling a part of their daily routines.”
Winners in each of the 11 categories receive national recognition on the RecycleMania website and awards made out of recycled materials, of course.
Pacific Lutheran University students Brandon Hardaway and Adam Sripranaratanakul take part in last year's RecycleMania. (photo via RecycleMania's Flickr page)