By JOSEPH YEAGER
This semester, the University of Mary Washington is once again taking part in the upcoming RecycleMania competition.This competition has been an annual event since 2009 and is familiar to most students. Schools from all across the United States and Canada take part in the RecycleMania competition, usually beginning in late winter and ending in the spring. Schools compete by recycling the most materials based on a number of different categories, including the most per capita basis, which schools have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which schools produce the least amount of combined trash and recycling.
In 2014, UMW placed fourth out of 461 schools in the national competition, and recycling has increased across the Mary Washington campus ever since the first event took place, according to the UMW website. This year’s RecycleMania starts on Feb. 7 and ends on April 2. The preseason for the event will start on Jan. 24, which serves as a practice round for schools to gather information on how fast they recycle material and analyze how well they will do when RecycleMania actually starts.
UMW has received recognition in past years because of its dedication to recycling. Every week, the rankings will update on recyclemaniacs.org so students can keep track of their progress as well as other colleges’ progress. Whoever wins a category will get national recognition on their website and in a national press release.
The categories include: the grand champion, whoever has the highest recycling rate based on their campus population including food and electronics; the per capita classic, whoever has the highest recycling rate based on their campus population minus food and electronics; waste minimization, which ever school produces the least amount of recyclables and trash; and the gorilla prize, whoever recycles the most without regarding the campus population. The winning school will also receive an award made out of recyclable materials and the right to host whatever category it wins during the next season.
According to Recyclemaniacs’ website, over 200 schools will participate in RecycleMania throughout North America this year. In Virginia, UMW ranked first in the competition in 2013 and 2014. Eco-Reps, a group partnered with the sustainability office who tries to solicit change throughout the UMW campus through education and awareness, will help organize and promote the Recyclemania event across the UMW campus this year.
The group hopes to help promote recycling, encourage friendly competition and encourage people to help spread awareness of the event across the college. Marty Morrison, the head of the sustainability office, said the Eco-Reps are putting the last-minute touches on the UMW campaign this year.
“The plans for the RecycleMania campaign are soon to be finalized by Eco-Reps, but is likely they will be similar to previous years,” Morrison said.
If the event does stay similar to previous years, it is likely they will collect the recyclables from the residence halls and hand out rewards.
Eco-Reps will post information on the event on the UMW website and the Facebook page will also post information regarding the event closer to the start of the competition. Emily Daly, junior English major, is looking forward to this year’s event.
“I am happy that we are having an event that is promoting recycling,” Daly said.
Christopher Cummings, freshman accounting major, hopes the sustainability office willadvertise the event beforehand. “Eco-Reps will spread information about the event before it starts so students can prepare,” Cummings said.
Students can keep track of UMW’s progress by looking at the UMW website or the Recyclemaniacs website.
According to the UMW website, in 2012 around 37.96 pounds of trash were recycled for every person on the Mary Washington campus. This year, UMW hopes to beat its previous records and win a specific category in the RecycleMania competition.