SU looks to gain ground in Reyclemania competition

SU has a short history with Recyclemania, but it is just the beginning in a step forward in improving on-campus recycling.

Recyclemania is running wild. Started in 2001, Recyclemania is a competition that pits universities against one another in a recycling competition.

From humble beginnings in 2001 when only two universities, Miami University and Ohio University, competed, the competition has grown to include 461 universities. Syracuse University joined the competition for the 2013 iteration and would've placed 83rd if they were in the competition division.

In 2014, when SU competed in the competition division, the university placed 76th with 35.5 percent trash recycled, a slight improvement from the year before, but still a far cry from the 1st place winner, Antioch University Seattle, which had close to 100 percent recycling with 93.1 percent.

The competition has added more and more kinds of recycling as the number of schools grew. Schools can recycle cardboard and paper products, including boxboard, catalogs, hard and softbound books, junk mail, magazines, newspaper, office paper of all colors and phone books. Schools can also recycle all kinds of cans and bottles, including aluminum cans, glass bottles and jars, steel cans, or other food or beverage containers accepted by local recycling programs.

Among the newer categories of recyclables are food service organic products like pre- and post-consumer food waste, compostable dinnerware, napkins, etc., and used cooking oil. The newest category, and one of the most needed, is electronics waste (E-Waste), which includes computers, printers, related equipment, hand held devices, consumer electronics, and even power cords, chargers and other ancillary equipment.

Schools weigh all of this material each week and submit their data to Recyclemania, which tracks and updates total numbers, probably to inspire active competition among the schools.

SU has a lot of ground to gain, but the competition isn't going anywhere. In the mean time, on-campus recycling will only improve with more containers and more refined recycling methods.



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