For 10 weeks each year, schools and colleges across the country compete to see which institution can collect the most recyclables and the least amount of trash per capita. It's called "RecycleMania" and this year's competition is bigger than ever.
Carnegie Mellon University is among 400 schools participating, with almost every state in the country represented. The primary goal of the event is to increase student awareness about campus recycling and waste minimization. All participating schools are required to report measurements on a weekly basis in pounds.
A "tip-off" event was held recently in the University Center's Wean Commons — where students lobbed their cans and plastic bottles into a basketball hoop. The basketball hoop is available for use by departments or resident buildings to sponsor a RecycleMania awareness event.
"RecycleMania is a great way to celebrate the competitive spirit of colleges and universities around the country," said Melissa Cicozi, who is chair of the marketing and communications subcommittee for Carnegie Mellon's Green Practices Committee. "Each year we get more students involved, and each year we keep more tonnage out of the landfills."
RecycleMania began in February 2001 when Ed Newman (Ohio University) and Stacy Edmonds Wheeler (Miami University) decided that something had to be done to increase recycling in the residence and dining halls on their campuses. The two schools went head-to-head to see which could recycle the most, with Miami University winning.
"Recycling is such an easy and painless habit for all of us to adopt — it makes perfect sense that we nurture the habit before our students strike out on their own,"Cicozi said.