RecycleMania competition back on campus

In an effort to raise awareness about campus sustainability, the University of Miami will compete against more than 500 universities nationwide in RecycleMania, an Internet-based recycling competition.

Although this is the fourth year UM has been involved, the school will take part in the competitive division for the first time. UM can now compete using the school’s total amount of recyclables thanks to the recent recycling upgrade which includes the new recycling centers around campus.

“We can do a lot better this year,” said Ian McKeown, UM’s sustainability supervisor. “We have more bins, and more locations on campus. We can increase our recycling numbers and in turn decrease the amount of trash.”

RecycleMania was founded in Ohio in 2001 as a competition between Miami University and Ohio University to help reduce waste on both campuses. The competition is broken up into two groups: the benchmark division, which is primarily based on participation, and the competition division. Each division is broken up unto six categories, with trophies going to the winners of the major categories.

“Hopefully it will be a way to bring the UM community together. We can compete as a group, but also increase knowledge, and begin to look at what’s down the road,” McKeown said.

The competition, which began on Jan. 18, lasts for 10 weeks and continues through March 28. Each school will collect data on its recyclables and waste. Schools will be ranked according to who has the least amount of trash and the highest recycling rate. This year Green U will be implementing inter-dorm competitions in order to have each residential college compete against each other. The competitions will begin Feb. 25.

“I think this competition is a really great way to draw attention to our recently implemented Green U recycling initiatives,” said Nadja Koch, the secretary of Sustainable U. “The best outcome would be that people are inspired to really minimize waste, and take a look at how their habits can become more environmentally friendly by simply sorting their trash.”

According to the RecycleMania website, more than 80 percent of schools who participated in last year’s competition have noticed a significant increase in the amount recycled.

“I think some people will be really surprised by how much of a difference recycling can make. For example, recycling one aluminum can save enough energy to run a TV for three hours,” Koch said.

Currently UM is ranked 169 out of the 171 schools in the grand champion division with the school recycling a little more than 6 percent. McKeown hopes that with student participation that number will quadruple by the end of the competition. To win however, UM would have to recycle more than 80 percent of its waste, which is where the current leading school, University of California San Marcos, stands.

Sophomore Rita Zeidan, who recently began recycling on a regular basis, said, “I really hope we do well. It’s nice to see college students get involved in a ‘greener’ lifestyle. I’ve been recycling so much; I am so proud of myself.”