University joins nationwide recycling competition

The University has another chance to defeat rival Kansas State, this time off the basketball court. Both universities’ recycling programs are competing in RecycleMania.

From Feb. 3 to March 30, students can participate at a recycling bin near them.
The national competition aims to raise awareness about and help improve campus recycling programs.

This is the University’s fifth year competing.

There are two divisions in RecycleMania: Benchmark and Competition. According to the RecycleMania website, in order to participate in the Competition Division, schools must keep track of and report recycling statistics for their entire campus. Schools participating in the Benchmark Division are not ranked, but can informally compare themselves to other schools.

“Those universities that want to compare their programs in the initial stages of their programs choose Benchmark, as established programs typically choose to compete,” Center for Sustainability staff member Manny Abarta said.

RecycleMania has eight categories that schools can compete in.

Game Day Challenge focuses on choosing one basketball game to collect the most recycling at. This will be the University’s first time competing in this specific category, along with the Grand Champion Challenge and the Waste Minimization Challenge.

The Grand Champion Challenge combines trash and other recyclable materials to determine a recycling rate for the university as a percentage for overall generation of waste.

In the Waste Minimization Challenge, universities compete for the least amount of trash per person. The University is also competing in the Per Capita Challenge, with the goal of recycling the largest amount of paper, cardboard, cans and bottles per person; the Targeted Material category, where competitors see which university recycles the most paper, cardboard, plastic, aluminum and food waste; and the Gorilla Prize category, which recognizes schools that recycle the largest gross amount of paper, cardboard, bottles and cans. Typically this category is won by a large university.

“We can beat Kansas State University in this category if we really tried to recycle at least half of what we throw away every day,” Abarta said. “We are so close already to their rates that we just need people to recycle at minimum half of the trash they generate everyday (such as) that pop-bottle after class or that old test or syllabus you have been hanging onto for the last two semesters.”

The University will not compete in the Film Collection or Electronics Recycling categories.

“Students must think about what they throw away every day,” Abarta said. “It doesn’t just disappear after you put it in the trash.”

There are more than 14,000 recycling bins on campus, along with a trailer at the Park and Ride lot.

Megan is a freshman majoring in journalism from Olathe. Read more from .

  • Updated Feb. 13, 2013 at 2:26 pm
  • Edited by Madison Schultz