By Derek Beaven – Staff Writer
Recyclemania has returned to Centre’s campus this spring. The nationwide recycling event began in 2001 with a recycling competition between Ohio University and Miami University, who were both looking for ways to promote recycling among students.
The event has grown ever since, including 461 schools for the 2014 competition year. The Recyclemania program is managed by Keep American Beautiful (KAB), one of the nation’s leading nonprofits with regard to sustainable development in communities. The program as a whole is governed by a board made up of officials on campuses across the US.
“Centre has been involved in this competition since 2010,” junior and Centre Environmental Association (CEA) Recycling Executive Michael Yu said.
“The ultimate goal would be to improve recycling rates at Centre as well as across the nation. I would like to see Centre in the top 50. Currently, we are 96th, which is still great.”
One of the biggest goals of Recyclemania is to reach students who may not always be influenced by environmental messages.
Recyclemania uses both school spirit and competition to encourage students to recycle, both for the school and for themselves.
According to the Recyclemania website, over half of the schools that participate note a significant rise in recycling even after the competition is finished.
“Recycling is important because it saves our natural resources, conserves energy, reduces litter and waste, saves landfill space, and because it’s the smart and environmental thing to do,” Recycling Coordinator Cheryl Coulter said.
Coulter estimated that the total recycling for the week of Feb. 2-8 was about 1,700 pounds. Centre managed to recycle over 23,000 pounds last year, though Coulter hopes to add to that total this year.
Yu also believes that recycling can have a large impact not only at Centre, but in the world as a whole.
“Recycling would help reduce Centre’s footprint on the world by using less resources,” Yu said. “It takes less energy and less natural resources to recycle than to create a new product. Students learn responsibility when they recycle. Our actions have a global effect even if it seems like just a small change.”
Coulter also pointed out the global ramifications of recycling. “I’m always asking people if they are familiar with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. If you are not, Google it. It really makes me think of how we are destroying our environment.”
The patch, widely regarded as one of the most polluted sections of the ocean, spans an indeterminate amount of space in the North Pacific and has an abnormally high concentration of plastic within the water.
Recyclemania works to encourage recycling in students so that our future leaders will have the opportunity to change and prevent these kinds of environmental hazards.
For the program to truly be a success, student participation must continue, even when the program is finished.
“The next step is to continue to recycle after the competition,” Yu said. “Students can participate in other CEA events or develop their own initiatives.” The competition will run until Sat., Mar. 29.
For those wanting to get involved, be sure to take advantage of the recycle bins placed across Centre’s residence halls and academic buildings. For more information contact Cheryl Coulter or Michael Yu .