RecycleMania Reigns on ND Campus

Author: Rachel Novick

Students across campus have planned a diverse array of events to promote recycling and waste reduction during RecycleMania, the nationwide campus competition that takes place each spring semester.

Graphic Design major Megan Malley ’13 is organizing Take Away Plastic (TAP) Day on March 4th, during which she will set up a large installation of empty water bottles on South Quad to raise awareness about the environmental impact of the water bottle industry.

“Every year, the United States consumes over 30 billion plastic water bottles; 80% of these bottles end up in landfills or incinerators after they are used,” said Malley. “By refusing to purchase bottled water, a college campus community can substantially decrease the plastic waste it generates each year.”

Office of Sustainability intern Max Ducey ‘16 is promoting RecycleMania at the March 5th men’s basketball game. Student volunteers will be positioned around the concourse to help attendees maximize recycling rates.

Amy Schockling, Welsh Fam’s Sustainability Commissioner, created Recycling Month in her dorm. For the entire month of February she featured a new recyclable item each week. “The first week, for example, I got our dorm a battery bucket and told people where to put their batteries and what kinds can go in it,” explained Schockling. She is also showing Tapped, a documentary on the water bottle industry, at the end of the month. “The main goal is to provide people with as much information as possible and in as many ways as possible so they’ll remember and make waste reduction a habit.”

RecycleMania is an eight week competition among 522 participating universities in the U.S. and Canada, seeks to motivate students to recycle by framing recycling in competitive terms. The event runs from February 4th to March 30th.

“Notre Dame participates in three RecycleMania categories: Grand Champion, which tracks recycling as a percentage of total waste output, Per Capita Classic, which tracks pounds of recycling per person, and Gorilla Prize, which tracks the bulk weight of all recycling output combined,” said Intern and Program Coordinator for the Office of Sustainability Myles Robertson.

In 2012 Notre Dame finished 108 out of 266 in the Grand Champion category, and 63 out of 296 in the Gorilla Prize category. With a current ranking of 59 out of 228 in the Grand Champion category, 41 out of 400 in Per Capita Classic, and 38 out of 407 in Gorilla Prize, the University’s chances look promising.

“Now in our fourth year of participation, we are excited that more students than ever are planning RecycleMania events. We hope to top the 264,953 pounds that we recycled last year during the competition,” said Erin Hafner, Programs Manager in the Office of Sustainability.

Ducey is optimistic about this year’s competition. “With the combined efforts of individual students and the Office of Sustainability, this year’s RecycleMania has the ability to greatly increase recycling efforts and awareness on campus.”