By Derek Woellner —
A national recycling competition is underway and Stout is battling to be 1st-place in the UW-System for the third year in a row.
Recyclemania is a friendly, yearly competition to encourage people to recycle, reduce and reuse. It takes place at universities and colleges across the U.S. and Canada. This year the 8-week competition began on February 7 and will continue until April 2.
“Recyclemania is a great way to have more fun caring about the waste we’re leaving behind. As a campus we have the power to improve together, and make a difference. This is a fun way to do it, and we get to beat other universities,” said Danielle Laine, a Sustainability Assistant with the UW-Stout Sustainability Office.
Last year, Stout placed 31st out of 394 participating schools. This was a slight decline from our 24th place finish the year before, when there were 474 schools in the mix. Despite the small drop in rank, Stout maintained its position at the top in the UW-System, setting us up for the potential hat-trick this year.
The competition is judged by weighing the amount of waste being produced at each school involved. Glass and plastic, paper, cardboard, compost and trash are all weighed and tracked weekly. Although the recyclables are sorted separately for processing, their weight is added together to determine how many tons of material is being kept out of the trash.
In the first week of the competition, Stout produced 36,630 pounds of waste. About half of that waste (18,230 lbs) was trash. The other half was recyclable material (8,500 lbs.) and compost (9,900 lbs.). The first week’s results, combined with the preliminary measurements of the two weeks prior, add up to 107,835 pounds of trash produced by Stout students and staff in three weeks.
The Reyclemania competition helps the Sustainability Office promote its environmentally conscious goal of reducing waste. Reducing and recycling are great ways for individuals to limit their impact on the environment. This competition comes at a good time of year for us to think about our own habits pertaining to waste.
“I like that it’s in the winter, it’s before Earth Day or Week” said Laine. “It’s something you don’t need to be outside to participate in.”