By CARA SEXTON
Last spring, University of Mary Washington students finished 18 overall in the nationwide RecycleMania competition and plan to move up this season. RecycleMania is an eight-week long recycling competition among colleges and universities in the U.S. as well as international schools, designed to promote sustainability and waste reduction on campuses.
The competition kickoff began on Sunday, Feb. 3, and the first week’s results will be posted on RecycleMania’s website on Feb.15. This year, more than 600 schools are participating, representing all 50 states and five Canadian provinces.
This is the fifth year that UMW has participated in the Per Capita Classic, a competition that measures the percentage of recycled materials per person.
Two new events the competition holds this year include film plastics and game-day recycling. The first, film plastics, which can include everything from stretch wrap to plastic shopping bags to bubble wrap, are materials in addition to the normal recycled goods that are generated across campuses.
Since new opportunities to recycle these plastics have become available in recent years, RecycleMania saw it fit to introduce film plastics as a new category in order to “raise awareness of this opportunity and encourage more colleges to set up recovery programs,” according to the RecycleMania website.
The other newest addition to the program is known as “Game Day” basketball, which will compare schools based on recycling and waste minimization efforts made during a single event.
Throughout the entire competition, members of the Ecology Club and RecycleMania volunteers will collect recyclables from residence halls and endorse green practices in the community. Additionally, UMW’s year-round recycling practice will continue as normal.
Ranking first in the competition in Virginia last year, UMW has high hopes of exceeding its previous RecycleMania record. Sophomore Reid Hendrick is enthusiastic about RecycleMania returning.
“I think the competition is a great way to encourage people to recycle more. Since we ranked so high [in the competition] last year, I think we should aim to place even higher this year,” said Hendrick.
More information about RecycleMania is available on their website.