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OHIO competes to win RecycleMania title with education, creativity and community events

Coming off back-to-back championships in the GameDay Recycling Challenge, Ohio University Campus Recycling and Zero Waste has already jumped into OHIO’s next competition: RecycleMania. 

RecycleMania is a nationwide recycling tournament, which began Sunday, Feb. 5, and runs for eight weeks to coincide with the NCAA basketball tournament. Hundreds of colleges and universities across the United States and Canada compete, putting forth extra efforts to increase recycling rates, as well as educate on the importance of recycling. RecycleMania will consist of several events to promote sustainability on campus and encourage maximum recycling from all students, faculty and staff.

As part of the RecycleMania preseason, Campus Recycling focused efforts on converting the newly renovated McCracken Hall into a more sustainable facility. Each office possesses a new system of waste collection, featuring a large, seven-gallon recycling bin with a smaller, one-gallon landfill bin clipped on the side. This new method inspires conscious decisions in waste disposal and is more representative of the ratio of recycling to landfill materials produced in an office setting. Once proven successful, this will likely become the new standard for all buildings as they are renovated. 

During the regular RecycleMania season, larger events will be dispersed throughout the eight weeks, with additional educational outreach opportunities in between including a to-be-announced art installation on campus during the month of February. 

One highlight of RecycleMania, the Baskeball GameDay Recycling Challenge, takes place on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the OHIO v. Bowling Green men’s basketball game. Having tied with Eastern Washington University as the waste diversion winner of the football season GameDay Challenge, OHIO now prepares to take home yet another title this spring. In addition to the placement of several recycling and compost bins around the Convocation Center, the recycling team with the help of volunteers will sort through all waste that is perceived to be unsalvageable in an attempt to achieve as high of a diversion rate as possible. Having achieved a 95 percent diversion rate during the football season, Campus Recycling hopes to accomplish the same or greater diversion rates in the basketball challenge. 

“We do whatever we can to reduce as much waste as possible,” said Alexa Smith, recycling communications team leader. “Collectively as a team, we spend the time needed to sort through landfill waste, pulling out recyclables and compost. It’s this extra initiative that makes all the difference, and we don’t mind getting a little dirty in order to prove how much of what we throw away really is actually recycling.”

Fraternity members from Phi Kappa Psi will also be assisting with the GameDay Recycling Challenge and are very enthusiastic to participate. 

“Phi Psi 500 is our biggest philanthropic event of the year. We are excited to team up with Campus Recycling to help clean up the Athens Community and reach our goal of completing 500 service hours in one week,” said active member Blake Crowley. “Campus Recycling does a great job keeping our campus clean and we are excited to team up and recycle the most we can. Phi Kappa Psi also wishes Campus Recycling our best wishes in hopes that they recycle enough to win RecycleMania.” 

Moving on to March, Battle of the Greens is a competition that will pit the three residential greens (south, east and west) against one another to see who can achieve the highest diversion rate. During the entire month of March, residential staff will motivate and educate their students on efficient recycling methods.  Each residence hall’s progress will be monitored and updated by determining a total percentage of recycling in comparison to landfill waste. The hall with the highest recycling rate will be celebrated with a free picnic that will take place in early April. With each residence hall making a considerable effort to limit the landfill materials they produce, it should make a strong difference to the overall University recycling rate.

“People are inherently competitive, so when you design an entire competition around sustainability people will do whatever they can to be as sustainable as they can,” said Recycling Team Leader Carson Calhoun.

The last of the major RecycleMania events will be RecycleMania Community Take Back Day, projected to take place at the Athens County Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 18. The event will allow the OHIO community and residents of Southeast Ohio to bring all hard to recycle items and gently used donations to one place. Items that will be accepted include electronics, clothing and household donations, latex paint, scrap metal, refrigerators, working and non-working appliances clean Styrofoam, batteries, light bulbs and scrap wood. The event is free, however items such as non-flat screen televisions, latex paint and tires may require a small cash fee for recycling. 

Over the course of eight weeks, Ohio University Campus Recycling and Zero Waste plans to orchestrate these events and others to maximize campus-wide recycling participation. Along with success in education and outreach, Ohio University hopes to win yet another recycling title.

This article was provided by Ohio University Campus Recycling and Zero Waste.