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OHIO proves importance of recycling in RecycleMania


Recycling rivalries added another level of "madness" to March, as 523 schools competed in the 2013 RecycleMania Tournament, a contest that draws on the competitive spirit of sports rivalries to enhance campus recycling and waste reduction.

Following eight weeks of the intercollegiate recycling competition, Ohio University's Athens campus finished first among Mid-American Conference (MAC) schools in four categories, according to final RecycleMania results, released Monday.

The University's Athens campus succeeded in overall pounds recycled – known as the Gorilla Prize – per capita Cardboard collection, per capita Cans and Bottles collection and Food Service Organics collection. The winning efforts resulted in OHIO's highest ranking of 33rd in the Cardboard category and 42nd in the Gorilla Prize category.

"The results represent a lot of positive effort," said Andrew Ladd, Ohio University recycling and refuse manager. "We were very successful and regardless of if we won every category or met every goal, it still shows that we're moving in the right direction and making significant strides."

Throughout the competition, Ohio University Athens diverted 425,591 pounds of targeted recyclable materials from the landfill and 157,285 pounds of food waste by composting, with a total of 593,626 pounds recovered, including electronic waste and film plastics. More than 15 pounds were recycled per person on campus.

Through education, outreach, marketing and social media efforts, the University intends to continue to work with student groups and residential housing bodies to increase commitment to recycling among the student population.

"Recycling and waste diversion is important for almost anything that people care about – living sustainably, reducing greenhouse gases, saving resources for future generations or creating local jobs – recycling does all othese things," said Ladd. "It's my personal belief that everybody cares about something and since recycling has a positive impact on so many aspects of our lives there is something that can touch every student."

The yearly Recyclemania Tournament involves colleges and universities across the United States and Canada in a competition to improve recycling and waste diversion on campuses. According to official reports, participating schools collectively recovered 90.3 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of nearly 121,436 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere.