North Texas Daily

UNT participating in national recycle competition

UNT participating in national recycle competition

February 12
22:09 2013

Porschia Paxton / Intern

For the fourth consecutive year, UNT will be participating in the annual RecycleMania competition that is supported by Keep America Beautiful. The recycling program began on Feb. 3 and will continue through March 30.

Office of Sustainability coordinator Nicole Cocco said the program is a friendly competition and tool for colleges and universities to promote waste reduction activities in their campus communities.

Over an eight-week period each spring, colleges across the U.S. and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week. In turn, they are ranked in various categories on which college recycled the most, which school has the best recycling rate and which school generates the least amount of combined trash and recycling.

According to the program’s website, 605 colleges recycled 94.4 million pounds in last year’s competition with the overall winner being American University in Washington D.C.

At the time of print, UNT was No. 92 on the list of 120 schools in terms of a total recycling rate.

The idea of Recyclemania began in January of 2001 as a challenge between Ohio University and Miami University, according to the RecycleMania website.

The two coordinators from each school looked for a way to motivate students to recycle more and the schools challenged each other to see who could recycle the most. After the first competition, other schools were asked to participate. Now RecycleMania has more than 500 colleges participating over the last four years.

Unlike past years for the competition, UNT will be collecting trash data and reporting a recycling diversion rate, Cocco said.

“Before this year, we did not have any means to track the weight of solid waste that was removed from campus,” Cocco said. “This year the Recyclemaniacs, will be collecting volume data and converting it to a weight estimate that can be used as a baseline to help UNT gauge the success of its recycling programs.”

Since this will be the first year that they have been able to track the amount of trash, it will be difficult to compare this year’s results to previous years, Cocco said.

“Next year we will be able to compare the data we collect from 2014 to this year’s data and see whether or not we need to improve outreach efforts,” she said.

The Office of Sustainability is not the only group involved with the project, either. The UNT facilities department, the Eco-Reps or student volunteers who promote sustainable living, the Recyclemaniacs student organization and the Recycling Department for the city of Denton all help out, Cocco said.

Alana Presley, a UNT alumnus who works with the city of Denton’s recycling department, said that they have trucks collect the recycling. They also report the findings to the Office of Sustainability.

Cocco said one of the Eco-Reps may even start a competition with the residence halls where the hall that completes the most RecycleMania pledges will win a pizza party.

For more information you can see the Office of Sustainability website or its Facebook page.

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