CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has retained its top spot in the state for RecycleMania, an annual, nationwide recycling competition between universities.
By recycling and composting a total of 483,449 pounds during the 10-week competition (Jan. 23 through April 2), OSU nabbed first place, while claiming the RecycleMania Civil War title over the University of Oregon by recycling and composting 5.5 pounds more per person.
OSU also beat its own 2010 totals, recycling and composting 67,831 pounds more – a 23 percent increase – and sending 201,158 fewer pounds of materials to the landfill, a 17 percent decrease over the previous year.
OSU made its biggest gains in the composting category, as the university continues to expand its efforts to collect compostable material such as food scraps and use 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 total waste beyond the 10-week competition,” said Andrea Norris, outreach coordinator for Campus Recycling. Norris and her colleagues hosted a series of 15 events to educate OSU students, faculty and staff about recycling.
Among the events was a residence hall recycling competition during which a dumpster from every hall was audited. The hall with the smallest percentage of recycling in its dumpster was McNary Hall, whose students won a game night and trophy made out of reused materials.
Campus Recycling also hosted two e-waste collection events, collecting 5,109 pounds of unwanted electronic equipment, and a Styrofoam collection week in which 55 cubic yards (nine standard dumpsters) was collected for recycling.
OSU has long been a leader in sustainability efforts and today recycles more than 2.5 million pounds of materials annually. University researchers have pioneered alternative energy sources and are leaders in studying renewable natural resources, and the OSU campus has been tabbed a “Green Power Leader” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
RecycleMania started in 2001 as a competition between two Ohio universities and has since grown to include more than 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.