February 01, 2013

University is again competing in recycling contest

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale is participating in the 2013 RecycleMania Collegiate Recycling Tournament, an eight-week national contest during which college campuses compete to see which can reduce, re-use and recycle the most campus waste.

SIU joins more than 600 schools from across the country and Canada competing in nine categories to determine which school recycles the most on a per capita basis, produces the least amount of waste, and recycles the largest percentage of its overall waste production.  The challenge runs Sunday, Feb. 3 through March 30.

SIU will joining other schools in submitting weight data each week for paper, cardboard, cans, bottles, food waste and general trash.   Participants can keep an eye on the results online at http://recyclemaniacs.org.

“Participating in RecycleMania is an opportunity for SIU to amp up our game on recycling.  We recycle a lot here, but there are literally tons of recyclables still going to the landfill.  Students, faculty and staff can help by recycling all cans, bottles and paper in the appropriate bins and by reporting areas that need more bins or clearer labeling,” Thomas Reichert, the University’s graduate recycling coordinator, said.  “Our goal is to pull ahead of the universities in the Missouri Valley Conference.  We need to recycle 30 percent of our overall waste to reach that goal.  Last year, we averaged just under 17 percent for the materials we reported to RecycleMania.”

Participation in RecycleMania is a campus-wide effort.  The campus community participates in a variety of environmentally friendly practices, including recycling paper, plastic, cans and even empty laser and inkjet cartridges.  Staff from Plant and Service Operations collect the items and put them in the proper places for recycling. 

Recreational Sports and Services and University Housing work throughout the year to conserve, reduce waste, recycle and re-use. Officials said it is making a difference.

“For example, since installing hydration stations and promoting reusable water bottles, we have kept hundreds of thousands of plastic bottles out of waste sites.  We are also in the process of replacing gym wipes with a system that uses solutions and towels to sanitize equipment, eliminating the use of thousands of towelettes each year,” said Corné Prozesky, associate director of Recreational Sports and Services, said. 

Students residing in campus residence halls also have ample opportunities to be good stewards of the environment, according to Leigh Cardosi, resident assistant.  There are recycling bins on each floor of the residence halls and other “green” measures are in place, too. 

For more information about recycling and environmental initiatives at SIU Carbondale, visit http://www.pso.siu.edu/recycling/

RecycleMania began in 2001 as a challenge between Miami University of Ohio and Ohio University.  It operates today under RecycleMania, Inc., governed by a steering committee including recycling managers from participating universities.  The non-profit Keep America Beautiful organization is manager for the 2013 tournament.  Program sponsors include The Coca Cola Company, SCA Tissue, Alcoa and the America Forest and Paper Association with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise program and the College and University Recycling Coalition.

For additional details about the University’s participation in RecycleMania, contact Reichert at tomreich@siu.edu