Feb 242008
 
Authors: Shayna Grajo

CSU has fallen from a first place position in RecycleMania, a 10-week recycling competition to third place among over 400 colleges and universities.

Less than one percent separates CSU from second place, held by Middlebury College. The competition’s current leader is Kalamazoo College.

Weekly results will be posted on RecycleMania’s website, www.recyclemania.org, every Friday until April 5. At that time, the winners of CSU’s internal housing competition will be announced.

The combined team of Durward, Westfall and Durrell currently leads the residence hall competition, while the University Apartments at City Park lead the competition among apartments.

“Momentum has built each year because students know about RecycleMania now, so it’s not a new thing like it was,” said Tonie Miyamoto, the Housing and Dining Services director of communications. “I think that helps students get ready to do it.”

This is CSU’s third year participating in the RecycleMania competition. CSU is competing in three categories: grand champion, waste minimization, and the Gorilla Prize, which is awarded to the highest gross tonnage of recyclables.

When CSU first competed in the national competition in 2006, the university placed fourth out of 93 competitors. When RecycleMania more than doubled in competitors in 2007, CSU placed third in the waste minimization caption and ninth overall.

“Every year since we’ve started, we’ve been able to beat CU,” Miyamoto said. “And we’ve also been able to beat a lot of Ivy League schools like Harvard and Brown. We don’t typically get to compete with Ivy League schools.”

RecycleMania consists of over 400 competitors and is divided into a whole campus and partial campus division. Naropa University in Boulder leads the nation in the partial campus division.

Both the Live Green Team, which is sponsored by Housing and Dining, and Facilities Management promote RecycleMania on campus. Each department led programs to encourage recycling awareness and practice.

Housing and Dining has dispersed posters, postcards and other printed material in residence halls and across campus. The department also sends e-mails to the students who live on campus, containing practical tips on how to recycle and reduce waste. The e-mails also inform students of the leaders in both the national and internal competitions.

“There’s always that educational piece that has to be repeated so that all 30,000 people on campus know what RecycleMania is,” Miyamoto said. “To become a tradition on campus, it has to be done for many, many, many years before everyone is familiar with it.”

Earlier this month, the waste audit group from Facilities Management presented a trash audit on the plaza. Facilities Management staff and volunteers dumped trash on the plaza and sorted through the rubble to expose wastes that were recyclable.

The trash audit occurred on a cold and windy day, said Tyler Waye, a junior natural resources economics major and Facilities Management employee. Waye, who helped sort through the trash, said the weather could have detracted from a voyeur’s comfort.

“I would say that for anybody that paid attention, it hopefully made some kind of difference, but it’s hard to tell,” Waye said. “It seems like a lot of community members were a little more excited about it than the students were.”

Waye also drives trucks for CSU; he collects cardboard recyclables on his route. He said he believes students have been contributing more recyclables since the start of RecycleMania.

“At the end of the day, I’ll think, ‘Oh, the truck’s a little heavier than it usually would be,'” Waye said. “There’s been a little more on the pickups lately.”

Waye said he could foresee a strong finish for CSU in the competition.

“There’s no reason we wouldn’t have a pretty good chance at winning, or at least getting top three,” Waye said. “Just pay attention. When you throw something away, look at it. A lot of your daily waste is recyclable.”

Staff writer Shayna Granjo can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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