Georgia College (GC) has entered the RecycleMania 2017 competition. Beginning in January of 2001 between just two schools, Ohio University and Miami University, RecycleMania (Fig. 1) now includes the voluntary participation of schools across the United States and Canada. RecycleMania is not only a competition but also a benchmarking tool which occurs over an eight-week period each spring. During this time, on a weekly basis, colleges and universities report their recycling and trash amounts. They are then ranked against each other in various categories based on recycling rates per capita and recycling rates as a percentage of total waste, as well as which school generates the least amount of combined trash and recycling. As the rankings are updated weekly, schools motivate their students to increase their position in the standings. The winning school in each category gets certain bragging rights, such as national recognition on the RecycleMania website and in a press release, receiving an award made of recycled materials, and hosting the travelling trophy for the year.
Fig. 1. RecycleMania 2017 Logo.
One of GC’s sustainability goals is to increase our recycling rates, which can be achieved, in part, by constantly educating the faculty, staff, and students about our efforts. With built-in promotional resources and helpful kits for activity planning, the RecycleMania competition provides a powerful, and prolonged, educational toolkit which can be adapted and implemented on campus. In addition, two of four RecycleMania goals listed on their website are directly aligned with GC’s. These goals are to “motivate students/staff to increase recycling efforts and to reduce waste generation” and to “generate attention and support for campus recycling programs.”
During the eight weeks of competition, the GC Office of Sustainability and Sustainability Council has already, and will be, hosting and promoting a variety of activities that are tied into the theme of recycling. One of these events, the Student Government Association (SGA) water bottle exchange, was held on February 6, 2017 (Fig. 2 & Fig. 3). The SGA collected 200 water bottles for recycling and in turn handed out all 100 of the reusable water bottles which they purchased for the event. Additionally, a newly designed West Campus Recycling Center banner (Fig. 4) was placed on February 9, 2017, to remind students of the materials that can and cannot be placed into the blue bins. Other events to watch for include social media informational campaigns, recycling volunteer days, and swag giveaways.
Fig. 2. GC SGA Representatives Handing Out Reusable Water Bottles.
Fig. 3. Plastic Water Bottles Collected By the GC SGA.
Throughout the competition, in addition to participating in the events, you can assist our efforts by recycling correctly on campus. GC accepts paper, paperboard, cardboard, metal cans, plastic #1 and plastic #2. All recyclable materials can be placed into the blue bins found on campus because GC uses a single stream recycling system. These materials, however, need to be cleaned of food and liquids before being placed into the bins. Items which should not be placed into the recycling containers include glass, plastic bags and film, plastics #3-#7, wood, tissue products, and chemicals. Please keep participating and recycling on campus to help make our RecycleMania 2017 campaign a successful one!
Fig. 4. The New West Campus Recycling Center Banner.