The university is measuring its waste reduction levels on a weekly basis from Jan. 20 through March 30 and tracking its standings in comparison to other universities. Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to utilize the available recycling bins on campus and be mindful of the amount of waste they generate. Participation in the competition supports the university's broader commitment to sustainability known as Planet Blue.
"RecycleMania is a great tool to boost awareness and involvement in campus waste reduction efforts," said Alison Richardson, recycling coordinator with the Waste Reduction and Recycling Office, a part of Plant Building and Grounds Services. "The excitement and participation generated by the competition helps to reduce waste sent to landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
Last year's competition resulted in the university collecting nearly 750,000 pounds of recyclables, equal to the avoidance of 1,364 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, or removing 258 vehicles from the roads.
U-M will compete in four categories:
- Largest collection of total recyclables
- Largest amount of recyclables per capita
- Least amount of waste per capita
- Highest recycling rate during the competition
Nicole Berg, Planet Blue Ambassador coordinator with the Graham Sustainability Institute, plans to encourage participants of the Planet Blue Ambassador program to assist in generating buzz on campus.
"As we have just launched the PBA program, RecycleMania is a great opportunity for those who have pledge to be more sustainable to join this nationwide initiative and be a sustainability leader," she said.
Similar to last year, the Planet Blue Ambassador Student Leaders will promote recycling and encourage sustainable behaviors in the residence halls.
Simultaneous to RecycleMania, the Waste Reduction and Recycling Office will host the seventh annual Recycling Champions competition. The intra-campus competition involves campus buildings competing to beat their 2012 recycling and waste reduction totals. The competition monitors improvement and awards performance in three areas: most improved recycling rate, largest waste reduction rate and highest recycling rate.
RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. This year marks the eighth year the university has participated. In 2012, the efforts of the 605 participating schools resulted in the grand total collection of 92 million pounds of recyclables, which prevented the release of nearly 150,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, equal to the amount of electricity used to power nearly 16,400 homes.
- U-M's recycling programs: http://www.recycle.umich.edu/grounds/recycle/.
U-M Sustainability fosters a more sustainable world through collaborations across campus and beyond aimed at educating students, generating new knowledge, and minimizing our environmental footprint. Learn more at sustainability.umich.edu.