One way to encourage progress on a goal like energy reduction is to have a competition. Many of these competitions take place in the education sector. The ongoing Green Cup Challenge is one example. In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has organized a number of national competitions, including the Battle of the Buildings and the Game Day Challenge.
RecycleMania represents another in this long line. It is a “friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.” For 8 weeks during the spring, schools tally weekly trash totals. This year’s competition begins this Sunday, February 8th. Registration is currently closed, but RecycleMania is an annual activity. Final results will be posted in mid-April.
RecycleMania is a non-profit “governed by a steering committee made up of recycling and sustainability managers from a variety of participating universities.” Beginning in 2001 as a friendly contest between two rival schools (Miami University and nearby Ohio University). Since then, it has grown to include more than 600 universities and colleges. For the past 8 years RecycleMania has partnered with the US EPA WasteWise program, the same group behind the aforementioned Game Day Challenge. Last year, more than “7.5 million students and staff participated, collectively recycling 91 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials were recovered. This activity helped to prevent the release of 127,553 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E), equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of 25,000 passenger cars, or the electricity use of more than 15,500 homes.”
RecycleMania has four overall goals:
- Motivate students and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation.
- Generate attention and support for campus recycling programs.
- Encourage colleges to measure and benchmark recycling activity in their effort to improve their programs over time.
- Have a fair and friendly competition.
Check back later in the spring for results of the competition.