Home Environment OU enters RecycleMania’s 13th annual intercollegiate competition

OU enters RecycleMania’s 13th annual intercollegiate competition

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RecycleMania kicked off its 13th annual recycling competition Sunday that will include universities across the United States; Ohio University among them.

OU will join the intercollegiate competition for the 13th year along with other Ohio schools. All of OU’s campuses will compete for eight weeks.

OU has always done very well in MAC division; often coming in first place. OU’s main campus was ranked 44th in 2012 among 275 universities that competed for the grand championship. But Liz Emley, president of the student organization EcoReps, says it can do better this year.

“We always do pretty well against other schools within the MAC division; we typically win or come close to it. We have a great recycling program here on campus compared to a lot of other schools,” Emley said. “However, we could do a little better to beat other schools across the country, not just those in the MAC division.”

“Although it is fairly easy to recycle across OU’s campus,” she said, “many students still throw more things in the trash than they should, and therefore we don’t do as well as some other schools with better programs and more informed students.”

The contest began in 2001 when the recycling departments at OU and Miami University banded together to create a friendly competition between the already rivaling schools to encourage students to recycle on campus and raise awareness about the benefits of recycling. Since then, its numbers have quickly grown to include 630 universities.

EcoReps and the Sierra Club will join forces to promote recycling on campus. Dry-erase boards will be set up listing the weekly per capita recycling scores in buildings such as Baker Center and Morton Hall. Students are encouraged to throw away a minimal amount and recycle all paper, cardboard, plastics and cans. Recycling bins are located throughout the campus.

“Recycle everything you can. Instead of throwing things away because there isn’t a recycle bin right next to you, hold onto it for about one more minute and you will probably find one,” Emley said.

Emley also encouraged students to make use of the compost cans, an important part of waste reduction. OU has the nation’s largest composting facility at a university and composts a great deal on campus. Many of the forks, spoons, knives, cups and carry out boxes used in the dining halls and elsewhere are made from composted and recycled material.

“Students need to learn that a majority of the things that they throw away could be recycled or composted,” Emley said, emphasizing that illustrations in West 82 of Baker Center give detailed instructions on what can be recycled, what can be composted and what needs to be thrown away.

“Once students learn the difference, a lot more will be diverted,” she said.

Schools compete in 11 categories over eight weeks for paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, with scores based on per capita waste reduction.

“In 2012, 92 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials were recovered, which prevented the release of nearly 150,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E),” RecycleMania wrote in a press release. “This reduction in greenhouse gases is comparable to the annual emissions from more than 25,800 passenger cars; electricity use of more than nearly 16,400 homes; or the burning of nearly 705 railcars’ worth of coal.”

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