RecycleMania increases participation on campus

Temple community gears up to compete in a nationwide competition to promote waste reduction and encourage recycling among students.

Members of the Students for Environmental Action, Students for Responsible Business, and the Philadelphia Streets Department Recycling Unit were among the organizations that gathered in the atrium at the Student Center last Wednesday to encourage recycling and raise awareness about Temple’s participation in the 2009 RecycleMania Competition.

RecycleMania is a 10-week, nationwide campus competition to increase recycling participation and promote waste reduction activities throughout campus communities.

“Recycling is really for many people the face of environmental issues,” said Sandra McDade, director of the Office of Sustainability. “Although it is only a small portion of it, recycling is often the first step an individual takes moving into more environmental activism.”

In 2008, campuses across the country collected a total of 58.6 million pounds of recyclables. RecycleMania is a project of the National Recycling Coalition that began in 2001.

The event is made up of four primary competitions in which schools are ranked according to who collects the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita and the highest recycling rate. In addition to the four primary competitions, schools may compete in four targeted material categories including paper, corrugated cardboard, bottles and cans and food service organics.

“Recycling is certainly better than manufacturing new things,” said Papa Baffour, a senior finance major. “As we recycle things, we continue to use what we already have and not continue to mass produce and waste things. In these troubled economic times, I don’t think we have enough resources to continue to waste things.”

Organizations provided students with information about the benefits of recycling, the hazards of not recycling, as well as information on how to start or continue to recycle on and off campus.

The organizations gave away pro-recycling T-shirts, reusable shopping bugs and stress balls. Students purchased or used their meal plans to get reusable coffee mugs provided by dining services, which encouraged students to “Stop. Think. Recycle.”

Curby Bucket, the city’s Recycling Unit mascot, was also there to shank hands, give hugs and get students excited about RecycleMania.

A representative from the Recycling Unit supplied 50 recycling bins to students.

Margaret Stilwell, a senior English major, lives in Oxford Village and was told she needed to get a recycling bin in order for her recyclables to be collected, but she didn’t know where to get one.

“I saw the bins, so I decided to get one,” English said. “I think recycling is really, really important. I recently studied abroad in Europe and recycling is like second nature to them, and I think it’s really important that Americans start to do the same thing.”

In effort to raise awareness about waste minimization and recycling on campus, the Office of Sustainability and its supporters are hosting “Recycle Mountain,” an event that invites students to bring their recyclables from residence halls to be displayed at the Bell Tower.

The event is intended to give the Temple community an idea about the amount of recyclable materials on campus as well as encourage participation in the 2009 RecycleMania Competition. “Recycle Mountain” will be constructed on Feb. 18 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This year’s RecycleMania competition will run until March 28. Students can view how Temple stacks up to the competition by visiting

Erika Ransom can be reached at

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