RecycleMania competition begins at Oregon State University

Lauren Sluss

Working to promote a more eco-friendly campus, RecyleMania 2016, the annual eight-week recycling competition between universities, launched this week and runs through April 2. The competition hopes to inspire students to become more conscious of their recycling habits, according to Marketing and Development Coordinator Andrea Norris.  

“RecyleMania is a time when we hope we can get people extra excited about recycling, composting and participating themselves,” Norris said. “We hope students are going to be more likely during this time to recycle—whether that means making the right choice when they are at the bin, or walking the few extra steps to get to the recycle bin as opposed to a trash can.” 

During the eight weeks, Campus Recycling weighs all recycling, compost and trash and reports it nationally. Each university that competes gets ranked on a national scale.

According to last year’s national results, OSU recycled an estimated 265,070 pounds and composted 55,006 pounds during the eight weeks of last year’s RecyleMania, representing 5 percent more recycling and 17 percent more compost than 2014.  

This increase in recycling is what RecyleMania hopes to accomplish, according to Norris.

“We’re trying to use this eight week time frame to get people to recycle more, become educated, and then continue to recycle at that rate throughout their time at OSU,” Norris said.

Not only is RecyleMania a national competition, but also a civil war competition between OSU and the University of Oregon, which began in 2010.

“We won the first several years and then U of O snatched it from us, and they kept it for a couple years,” Norris said. “Last year we just won it back, so our goal obviously this year is to keep it.”

Along with the civil war challenge, OSU residence halls are encouraged to compete in the inter-hall challenge which runs the first three weeks of competition. The residence halls are competing for the greatest amount of recycling per person, and the winners receive points for the inter-hall challenge.

Both the residence hall winners and the civil war winners are rewarded the RecyleMania trophy, which was built out of scrap materials and made by the University of Oregon. The chance to win the trophy will hopefully bring out the competitive side in OSU students, according to Outreach Assistant for Campus Recycling Kyle Reed.

“RecycleMania brings everyone together under the common banner of competition,” Reed said. “The competition helps set a good precedent for how we should treat recycling and waste year-round.”

RecyleMania offers ways for the less-competitive students to become involved as well. Throughout the eight weeks, RecyleMania will be hosting a variety of events, including the scrap sculpture display, Valentine’s e-cards, the career wardrobe event, the winter repair fair and the recycled fashion show.

These events not only allow students to become engaged in campus, but educate them as well, according to Waste Projects Coordinator for the Student Sustainability Initiative Tyler Coleman.

“RecyleMania has been a time that the ideas of resource sustainability and waste reduction are brought to the forefront of people’s minds,” Coleman said. “It is a time that sustainability groups have a better way to connect with all other people by teaching them why sustainability is important.”

The competition and events both work toward maintaining OSU’s and Corvallis’ long history of recycling, according to Reed.

“We have always been leaders when it comes to dealing with our waste—Corvallis was the first city in the state to have a curbside recycling program,” Reed said. “Therefore, it’s important to make sure we live up to the name we’ve made.”

For more information, students are encouraged to visit RecyleMania’s webpage and attend the events RecyleMania hosts throughout the eight weeks.

“Recycling is a promise to ourselves and to future generations that we care about what happens,” Reed said. “RecycleMania lets us show not only to ourselves, but also to the world, just how much we care.”