U of M takes part in collegiate recycling competition
By Laura Fenton
Ready, set — recycle!
The University of Memphis is waiting to see how it fared in RecycleMania, a collegiate
recycling competition that kicked off its annual drive on Feb. 6. Results of the competition
are to be posted April 15 at www.recyclemaniacs.org.
“Recycling coordinators understand that the natural rivalry that exists on college
campuses is a great way to tap student interest and get them engaged, particularly
in research conservation issues,” said Alec Cooley, program manager for RecycleMania.
The program started informally between rival schools Miami University of Ohio and
Ohio University in 2001 and has grown rapidly. This year, 630 colleges are competing
in the drive, 10 of which are from Tennessee.
It is the second year the U of M will participate and first year it will compete among
other schools. The collection total of a first-year program sets a “benchmark” that
is used when it competes against other schools in the years following. All school
collections end on April 2.
“I’m definitely hoping to see an improvement because last year was our first time
to do it,” said Amelia Mayahi, sustainability coordinator at the U of M. “We’ve lived
and learned from our process and hopefully can make it better this year.”
The U of M’s effort included a recycling competition between sororities and fraternities;
a dorm recycling competition; educational programming at the Tiger Den; and the increase
of recycling bins around campus.
Two new features for this year included recycling in the kitchen of the Aramark dining
halls on campus and a “Shred Day” to shred and discard sensitive documents.
Recycling packaging from cooking ingredients in the kitchens is not necessarily visible
to students, but Mayahi believes it is a demographic of campus that will greatly increase
the University’s weight total.
Schools compete in nine categories based on materials and overall percentages.
Mayahi says the U of M has greatly increased its recycling efforts the past three
In 2009, the campus recycled 76 tons of paper. By 2010, the campus had increased to
142 tons of paper for the year.
RecycleMania is run by the RecycleMania Steering Committee, comprised of recycling
managers from six participating universities, and with support from the national non-profit
Keep America Beautiful.
For more information about RecycleMania, visit www.recyclemaniacs.org.
For a video on recycling, visit www.memphis.edu/uofmvideos and search for “University
of Memphis recycling.”