Recycling competition to draw awareness

By Amber Jones and By Amber Jones

The RecycleMania 2k17 tournament has commenced, and the University Director of Sustainability Nick Hennessy hopes that it will be a friendly competition amongst residence halls to see which one can recycle the most, while drawing awareness to the benefits of recycling in this eight-week tournament.

The tournament goes from Feb. 5 through April 1. While the competition is happening on campus, the University is also competing each year nationally against other college and university recycling programs in the United States and Canada.

In 2015, for the second year in a row, the University’s total recycling numbers were compared to universities across the nation, and was ranked 116th in the competition.

“When the contest started out years ago, BGSU was one of the first schools to ever participate in it. We are considered to be one of the pioneers of recyclemania,” Hennessy said.

Residence halls competing to be the recycling champions have always been a part of the University’s recyclemania tourney to boost campus moral while also reducing waste and increasing recycling.

“The residence halls are a big source of recycling and trash, so we try to generate excitement on campus and have a friendly competition,” Hennessy said.

To keep track of how much recycling and waste is being collected for the tournament, Hennessy works closely with the University recycling provider, Waste Management Inc., and the Student Recycling crew to make sure the total weight of recycling each week is accurate.

“For the national competition, I have to submit recycling and waste weights online every week. I am given a total weight of our recycling by our recycling provider Waste Management Inc. I also have the student recycling crew keep track of what they are picking up at each residence hall with a data sheet,” Hennessy said.

At the end of each week, the recycling and waste is calculated by pounds per student and is posted on the BGSU Sustainability page to provide weekly standings for each resident hall.

To keep the energy and campus morale of recycling alive, Savannah Heck, intern for the office of sustainability, is coordinating events such as “Caught Green Handed” and “Green Sunday” into the competition.

People are rewarded if they were caught “green handed” while recycling their items. The very green prizes included gift cards and reusable cups from Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks, and money cards to the student union and dining halls.

Residence halls get involved in the fun by participating in Green Sunday, which consists of the student recycling crew and resident life employees going to residence halls knocking on doors asking people if they have any recycling they can collect.

“The contest is not all about: let’s see who can collect the most cans, bottles and paper, it’s about: how else can we reduce waste because overall, we just want to have less trash,” Hennessy said.

According to The Office of Campus Sustainability website, the office operates within Campus Operations to fulfill three overarching goals established through University’s “Climate Action Plan” to achieve institutional carbon neutrality by 2040: reduction of emissions through energy efficiency, waste reduction and resource conservation by recycling and re-use initiatives, education, awareness and outreach.

“RecycleMania is an awareness program; that’s why it is so important. It’s making people in your community, and on your campus, aware of the importance of recycling as a practice,” Hennessy said. “Not only are we saying this is how you do it, but also, ‘this is why you should.’ This can that is being recycled can be made into another can. These plastic bottles can be recycled and made into a hoodie, t-shirt or park bench. Every time we conserve resources and re-use the things that we recycle, we help the environment.”