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RecycleMania recap: OHIO wins MAC

During an eight-week span from February to April, Ohio University participated in the RecycleMania tournament, bringing home two titles for 2017. The tournament included 320 colleges and universities from 46 states in the United States, the District of Columbia and Canada. 

Competing schools participate in various activities and events with the ultimate goals of fostering zero waste education as well as reducing the amount of recyclable material and food waste on their campus. Their overall performance over the two months is then ranked and winners are announced. This year’s competition resulted in 69.9 million pounds of recycled food and waste.

OHIO began participating in RecycleMania as a friendly challenge with Miami University, explained Andrew Ladd, recycling and zero waste manager at OHIO. The university’s involvement has grown over the past decade and has resulted in success in the last cycle. 

“As Bobcats, the campus community again excelled by winning the nation in the Basketball diversion rate category and winning the MAC in recycling rate as well. Success takes a campus-wide effort and shows that the culture of recycling at Ohio University is growing every year,” Ladd explained.

A new category in this year’s competition, Race to Zero Waste, focuses on efforts to reduce the amount of waste generated in the first place. One highlight of RecycleMania is the Basketball Game Day Recycling Challenge. OHIO recycled and composted over 95 percent of the waste generated during a home basketball game versus Bowling Green State University, aiding in the win of the basketball diversion rate category. 

The RecycleMania Community Take Back Day is the final event hosted by OHIO in conjunction with multiple community partners. The event took place at the Athens County Fair Grounds on Saturday, March 18. The OHIO community and residents of Southeast Ohio were encouraged to bring items that are considered hard to recycle and gently used donations to the event. At the free event, items such as electronics, clothing and household donations and working and non-working appliances were collected. Approximately 31 tons of materials were collected and diverted from landfill in a single 4-hour time span.

“We’re not going to stop until we reach a true Zero Waste campus. Even now virtually everything can be recovered through reuse, recycling, composting or donation. At this point in our society less than 10 percent of what we manufacture, consume and later discard is actually landfill. The Sustainability Plan updates being considered right now are more than likely going to set the goal of a 90 percent recycling rate by 2025,” Ladd expressed. 

Ohio University Campus Recycling and Zero Waste hosted these events and others to maximize campus-wide recycling participation. Through success, education and outreach, Ohio University was able to win yet another RecycleMania title.

Complete results for these and other categories can be found at www.recyclemaniacs.org including a breakout that shows how schools performed by athletic conference, institution size, state, and other groupings. The national winners of each category are recognized with an award made from recycled materials.