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Recyclemania competition bigger than ever

RecycleMania, an intercollegiate recycling competition started four years ago between Miami and Ohio universities, has nearly tripled in size this year over last as students from 49 universities compete to see which school recycles the most per student.

The main goal of the 10-week event is to increase student awareness in campus recycling. The friendly competition has grown each year: Four schools competed in 2002, eight schools in 2003 and 17 last year. This year's list includes public and private institutions from coast to coast. Ohio schools participating include Bowling Green, Ohio State, Ohio, Youngstown and Miami universities.

RecycleMania is organized and operated by university recycling coordinators and is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency WasteWise program.

Residence halls, dining halls and on-campus apartments are outfitted with recycling containers: Glass, cans, paper, cardboard, #1 and #2 plastic, even old textbooks will be accepted for recycling. Measurements will be reported on a weekly basis in pounds recycled per student living on campus.

New for this year, participating schools will have the option to also compete based on the on-campus recycling rate: the total recycling weight compared with the total weight of trash discarded.

The contest starts Jan. 30, although Miami will launch a residence hall competition Jan. 23. The winning school will receive a RecycleMania trophy and a half page ad in all the other schools' newspapers announcing their win. Results will be announced April 15.

The participating universities already boast high recycling and waste diversion rates, and each has individual goals to improve their efforts. Last year Miami won with 58.3 lbs./student recycled, up from its third place result in 2003 of 48.9 lbs/student recycled.

According to Marcy Bauer, environmental education coordinator, Miami's recycling goals this year include increasing the campuswide waste-diversion rate to 60 percent and increasing recycling awareness in fraternities.

Residence and dining halls have been the largest producers of campus waste, according to the EPA's Waste-Wise program. Data from waste audits suggest that up to half of all residence hall trash is recyclable. A recent Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) study revealed that more than 60 percent of Ohio's residential and commercial waste can be recycled, with paper fiber making up 41 percent of Ohio's total waste stream by weight.

For more information on Miami's recycling program, contact Bauer or Brenda Scott, environmental education coordinator, 9-7005 or recycle@muohio.edu.

For more information on the ODNR “What's In Our Garbage? Ohio's Waste Characterization Study,” Jan. 5, 2005, go to http://www.ohiodnr.com/news/jan05/0105recyclestudy.htm.

For more information on RecycleMania and weekly updates on the contest, go to www.recyclemaniacs.org.

Date Published: 01/20/2005
Volume: 24   Number: 21

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