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RecycleMania 2012: From Contest to Culture


Ian Winner, president of Green Oxford, at the Go Green @ Miami RecycleMania kickoff
Miami University, an early leader in campus recycling, is looking to get back in the game with a weekly series of "Go Green @ Miami" events and competitions in Spring 2012. Miami was commended by the White House Task Force on Recycling in 2000 and went on to co-found the RecycleMania national collegiate recycling competition with Ohio University. Miami won three times and placed in the top four since its beginning in 2001 through 2008.

Last year Miami placed 96th out of 363 schools, with 16.1 cumulative pounds recycled per person on campus during the eight-week competition. In order to better compete, and make sustainability more about culture than the contest, Miami’s Go Green coordinating committee has developed a "Go Green @ Miami" playbook (see sidebar) of weekly events and competitions.

"Sustainability begins where we live and work, and recycling is a great place to start," said David Prytherch, sustainability coordinator and associate professor of geography.

Go Green @ Miami – get involved: turn actions into habits!

This year nearly 550 schools will participate in RecycleMania 2012.
The RecycleMania competition officially begins Feb. 5. Preseason “trials” began Jan. 22, with the official competition running eight weeks between Feb. 5 and March 31. A separate residence hall competition will run concurrently.

"Recycling is one of the simplest acts that any one person can do to better the environment, help create jobs, and save energy," said David Smith, environmental education and recycling coordinator. "Help make Miami University the number one recycling university in the nation again, and put ‘it in the blue bin.’"

• What gets recycled? Collected and measured recyclables are: bottles, cans, paper and corrugated cardboard.

How? Take whatever extra steps are necessary to put recyclables in the marked bins. “At present, outdoor recycling containers are scarce,” admits Yvette Kline, director of sustainability and energy conservation.
“Considering, however, that things like beverage bottles have traveled miles before you touched them, please hold on to them long enough to put them in the recycling stream. Recyclables are resources, and it’s up to us to use them wisely.”

Protect recyclables: Don’t contaminate a load of paper by carelessly tossing left over coffee or food waste in it, Kline said.

Recycle Rate: Pounds per Person means everybody, not just students

The entire campus is included in the Stephen K. Gaski Per Capita Classic competition (named in memory of Gaski, former director of building and special services at Miami), to see which school can collect the most recyclables per person on campus - student, faculty and staff.

• Results are based on cumulative weight recyclables per total campus population: on- and off-campus students, faculty and staff. That means you!

The 2011 Recyclemania Per Capita Classic winners was Union College, with 55.7 cumulative pounds recycled per person. Miami was 96th, with 16.1 pounds per person.

The RecycleMania competition is a trademarked program of the RecycleMania Steering Committee in coordination with the College and University Recycling Coalition. Program management is provided by Keep America Beautiful in coordination with the U.S. EPA WasteWise program. Premier sponsors are Alcoa, Waste Management Inc., SCA and Coca Cola Recycling.

For more about RecycleMania including weekly competition results, go to

"This spring will be busy with Go Green @ Miami events, and Recyclemania is a great way to kick them off,” Prytherch said.

Go Green @ Miami PlayBook

Check out the Go Green @ Miami PlayBook for a 10-week series of fun, free events at various dining centers highlighting “Actions of the Week” that students and others can take towards creating a culture of sustainability on campus.

The Go Green coordinating committee, a subgroup of the Miami University Sustainability Committee, has organized entertainment, information and prizes focusing on a different action each week, held most Tuesdays, 5-7 p.m.

For details, go to the Sustainability at Miami website.


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