Emory Report
February 13, 2006
Volume 58, Number 19


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February 13, 2006
Emory vies for recycling crown

BY robyn mohr

Baseball season, hunting season and the holiday season are common touchstones, but for the next 10 weeks at Emory, it will be recycling season.

The University, along with 93 other colleges and schools throughout the United States, is participating in RecycleMania, an initiative aimed at boosting awareness of the need to recycle while also encouraging conservation.

The contest began Jan. 30. Emory, the only school in Georgia to participate, has joined campuses in 35 other states, including California, Colorado, Ohio and New York, in a competition to see who can collect the most recyclable materials while curbing the level of trash.

The rankings from the current competition will be posted on the RecycleMania Website starting Feb. 10. The online results will be updated weekly on Fridays.

According to the Feb. 8 posting, Emory ranked 39th out of 80 schools in it's class with 1.9 pounds per person.

Recyclable goods on the most-wanted list include: paper, catalogs, phone books, aluminum cans and water bottles. Participants are asked to log the number of pounds they collect every week. At the competition’s end, the school that collects the largest amount of recyclable items will win “"The Dude,"” a much-sought-after trophy shaped like a bowling ball.

"Emory Recycles" hopes to increase campus resident recycling and promote the importance of not only recycling but waste reduction campus-wide by participating in Recyclemania,” said Recycling Coordinator Claire Wall. “"Most everyone has a competitive side, and by participating in this friendly competition between universities, we hope to spur friendly recycling competitions on campus."

The origins of the contest date back to 2001 when two students in Ohio began the rivalry.

Ed Newman, then a student at Ohio University, and Stacy Edmonds Wheeler, who was attending Miami University (of Ohio), started the competition, believing the residence and dining halls on their campuses were producing too much waste. The two schools went head-to-head in a recycling competition.

Since then, RecycleMania has branched out into two separate competitions: Waste Management and the Per Capita Classic. Those schools that participate in both are in the running to become the Grand Champion of RecycleMania. The title is given to the school that, based on its combined results, collects the most recyclables and reduces the most waste on campus.

Emory is a contestant in the Per Capita Classic. In that category, schools can choose to collect recyclables campuswide, or they can focus on recycling in a single residence hall or dining area. Although collecting recyclables from one residence hall may hardly seem worth it, residence and dining halls are the largest producers of waste on campus, according to RecycleMania statistics, generating 30–70 percent of on-campus trash.

Organizers at Emory decided to focus on recycling in residence halls, and all newly admitted students were given blue bins at orientation. A similar strategy seems to be the key behind Miami's success. Placing recycling bins in residence halls is how Miami of Ohio consistently comes out on top.

In 2005, Miami was in danger of losing the “"Recycle Dude"” for the Per Capita Competition. University students had become very fond of the trophy and named him the unofficial mascot for their school's recycling programs. They pumped up publicity and brought the bowling ball to a basketball game to advertise RecycleMania. Pretty soon, several students on campus recognized the Recycling Dude and the competition he represented.

In the 2005 competition, there were 47 participating schools, a big leap from the 17 schools that participated the year before. The spike is due partly to RecycleMania's partnership with the WasteWise Program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

WasteWise fostered competition among schools and made technical assistance, electronic reporting and an interactive Website available to all RecycleMania participants.

All participating universities are required to publicize the winners of the contest in some form of campus media.

For more information, visit the RecycleMania Website at www.recyclemania.org or call the WasteWise helpline at 1-800-372-9473. Also, look for Emory's results on Emory Report's Website, www.emory.edu/EMORY_REPORT.