OSU takes top spot in Oregon for recycling

Campus Recycling Outreach Coordinator Andrea Norris (right) presents a trophy made out of reused materials to McNary Hall Treasurer Jeff Robideau (left), the prize for the residence hall recycling competition. (Photo: Shelly Clark)

Oregon State University has once again taken the number one spot in the state of Oregon for RecycleMania, an annual, nationwide recycling competition between universities. By recycling and composting a total of 483,449 lbs during the 10-week competition (Jan. 23 through April 2), OSU also took the RecycleMania Civil War title versus University of Oregon, recycling and composting 5.5 lbs more per person.

OSU also beat its own 2010 weights, recycling and composting 67,831 lbs more (a 23 percent increase) and landfilling 201,158 lbs fewer (a 17 percent decrease) than last year. The biggest increase was seen in the composting category, as OSU continues to expand its efforts to collect compostable material such as food scraps and compostable serving ware.

“RecycleMania is an opportunity to not just boost our weights, but also increase awareness of waste reduction and give the OSU community the know-how and tools to reduce their waste beyond the 10-week competition,” said Andrea Norris, Campus Recycling Outreach Coordinator. To encourage and educate the OSU community about recycling and waste reduction, a series of 15 events were offered by Campus Recycling and other OSU groups throughout the competition.

This included the construction of a sea creature student volunteers made out of recycled materials and displayed in the Memorial Union Quad for a week, and a residence hall recycling competition in which a dumpster from every hall was audited by Campus Recycling. The hall with the smallest percentage of recycling in their dumpster – McNary Hall – won a game night and trophy made out of reused materials.

Campus Recycling also hosted two e-waste collection events, collecting 5,109 lbs of unwanted electronic equipment, and a Styrofoam collection week in which 55 cubic yards (nine standard dumpsters) was collected for recycling.

Oregon State University has a history of commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility. OSU was one of two universities in the U.S. to begin exploring the potential of wind energy in the 1970s. Oregon’s 1971 Bottle Bill, the first of its kind in the U.S., is widely considered the start of the recycling movement. OSU’s recycling efforts beat it by a year. Today, OSU recycles more than 2.5 million pounds annually. OSU experts have pioneered climate change research, and the campus is distinguished as a Green Power Leader by the EPA.

RecycleMania started in 2001 as a competition between two Ohio universities and has since grown to over 600 universities in all 50 states and Canada. OSU first participated in 2005 and in 2010 worked with UO Campus Recycling to create a Civil War competition between the schools, which includes both recycling and compost weights. UO created a trophy out of reused materials that OSU won in 2010 and continues to hold onto this year. For more information, please visit http://recycle.oregonstate.edu/recyclemania or http://recyclemaniacs.org.

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