COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland is once again taking on the RecycleMania challenge to reclaim its 2011 'ACC Grand Champion' title from Boston College, who placed first in the ACC in 2012. RecycleMania is a national recycling competition between hundreds of colleges and universities to see who can recycle the most from Feb. 3 to March 30. This is the seventh year the university is participating.
"The competition seeks to tap into school spirit as the motivator to reach students who would not necessarily be interested in environmental issues otherwise," says Adrienne Small, recycling specialist in the Recycling and Solid Waste unit on campus.
A state law - the Maryland Recycling Act - requires all counties and state units - including the University of Maryland - to recycle. Since its enactment in 1998, more than 1,000,000 tons of trash are being recycled throughout Maryland each year. The university has been working hard to improve campus recycling - in 2003, only 17% of waste was being recycled. During the 2012 calendar year that figure jumped to 70%. University officials say RecycleMania will help generate momentum for recycling efforts around campus so UMD can reach its 2013 goal of a 75% recycling rate.
"The University of Maryland has placed a high priority on recycling over the past few years," says Student Affairs Vice President Linda Clement. She says that while Maryland has made good progress, entering the RecycleMania contest will help "maintain and enhance this upward trend.”
How RecycleMania Works
The annual 8-week competition challenges colleges across the United States and Canada to collect the most recycled and trash materials. Weekly weigh-ins monitor the amounts each college reports and rank them based on volume per capita, determining which has the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which produces the lowest volume of trash and recycling.
Collection will be done at various locations around the campus. Materials that will be accepted include all paper products (including cardboard, books, mail, magazines, and newspapers), bottles, cans, and all items that would go into the single-stream recycling bins. The university will compete in two additional categories this year: food service organics (which includes pre- and post-consumer food waste such as compostable dinnerware and napkins) and electronics.
Follow the University of Maryland's RecycleMania progress here.