RecycleMania hits the residence halls
The two-month recycling competition pits
UO students against schools across the nation

Oregon Daily Emerald
Eva Sylwester News Reporter February 07, 2005

On Jan. 30, University residence hall students kicked off RecycleMania, a national intercollegiate competition to collect the most recyclable items from student living areas. The competition will continue until April 9.
"A lot of schools are looking at us as the team to beat," University Housing Recycling Coordinator Robyn Hathcock said. "It's fun to compete against Ivy League schools and perform really well on a unique level." Rob Gogan, Harvard University campus recycling coordinator, said in an e-mail to Hathcock that his program has respect for University recyclers.

"Your school finished second in RecycleMania in 2003 and won the National Recycling Coalition's award for Best Campus Recycling program in the nation a few years ago," he said in the e-mail. "We hope you aren't getting cocky, though. We here in the East have some tricks up our sleeves that are going to make it quite a chase for you."

RecycleMania involves two separate competitions: The Per Capita Classic, where the number of pounds of recycled material is divided by the number of students, and the Recycling Rate Competition, where a school's recycled material is compared with its amount of trash. The University is participating in the Per Capita Classic, and Hathcock expressed hopes that being in the same division as Pacific-10 Conference rivals and Ivy League schools will increase interest in the competition among students at the University.

"Another thing that's really got us fired up is that OSU is participating this year," Hathcock said. "The competition is definitely on with OSU in it."

Hathcock plans to promote the program by posting weekly recycling totals in the lobbies of the Carson, Barnhart, and Hamilton residence hall complexes. Events throughout the competition will include a recycling fair, displays in residence hall lobbies and a recycled art workshop.

According to the RecycleMania program's Web site, www.recyclemaniacs.org, the competition began in 2001 between Ohio University and Miami University as an effort to increase recycling in the residence and dining halls. It expanded to four schools in 2002, eight in 2003, 17 in 2004, and 49 this year.

2003 is the only year the University of Oregon has previously participated in the competition. During the 10-week period, residence hall students recycled an average of 51.5 pounds of recyclables per person per week and took second to Bowling Green State University.

"We were beat out of first by a pound," Hathcock said. "A pound works out to two glass bottles per person per week."

According to Hathcock, residence hall students at the University recycled 32.5 tons of glass, metal and paper during fall 2004. The dining halls recycled more than 22 tons during the same period.

"As high as that number sounds, you take a look in the Dumpsters, at least 50 percent of that is still recyclable," Hathcock said. "Good recycling practices have a tremendous impact on the environment. They save a lot of energy and natural resources. Those benefits are what are worth competing for."

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