By Sophie Katzman ’14
RecycleMania, a non-profit organization, has put a competitive edge on recycling to fuel students’ actions across college campuses. By targeting college students, the initiative instills the habit of recycling into their present and future lives. Trinity is once again participating in this national competition that began at the College on Sunday, Feb. 3.
The program takes place over an eight-week period at colleges across the United States and Canada. Schools participate by reporting the amount of recycled materials and trash collected each week, statistics that are then ranked in various categories. Whichever school has the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste ranks highest in the competition. The winner of RecycleMania is awarded national recognition, as well as an award made out of recyclable materials.
RecycleMania notes a significant increase in recycling in participating schools after participation in the competition. In 2011, the overall recycling rate at the colleges increased 1.42 percent. In the most recent competition, 630 colleges participated from 49 states and four Canadian provinces. With the involvement of over 7.5 million students and staff, 91 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials were recovered, reducing the carbon dioxide equivalent of the emission of 25,000 passenger cars!
The overall goals of RecycleMania are to motivate students and faculty to reduce waste, generate attention towards recycling efforts, encourage colleges to benchmark recycling activity, and engage students in a fair and friendly competition. Other participating schools include Colorado College, George Washington University, Bowdoin College, Amherst College, Wesleyan University, and the University of Hartford. Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania is in first place for Pre-Season Week 2 with a recycling rate of 77.87 percent. Trinity College is in 109th place, with a recycling rate of 10.37 percent.
It is now Trinity students’ jobs to recycle paper, plastic, metal, and glass. The College is renting out recycling bins to place in dorm rooms across campus or in dorm room halls. There is a wide range of recycleable items, including plastics one-seven, mixed paper (newspapers, magazines, bills, etc.), cardboard, glass, aluminum, and metal. Items that cannot be placed in recycling bins include the caps of plastic bottles, straws, Styrofoam, and plastic bags. Because the entire campus is graded on its recycling habits, not just certain buildings, it is important for everyone to be active. Trinity weighs its data from the entire institution, so recycling in the dorms is just as important as recycling in classrooms or dining halls.
For those people living in a house or fraternity that does not have recycling bins, students can rent a bin by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To have recycling picked up from a house, place the bin or clear plastic bag outside of the building next to the trash. Items that are difficult to recycle can be brought to several different locations across campus. Light bulbscan be brought to recycling centers in Mather and the Jacobs Life Science Center. Ink toner cartridges can be taken to the FACES lounge in Mather. For all other miscellaneous items, contact Kira Sargent at extension x4072.