PSU ranks 19th out of 90 in recycling contest

With the final results of the national RecycleMania competition still to be tallied, PSU has ranked third in the waste minimization category and 19th in the overall grand champion reduction and recycling category by the ninth week. The final results will be released Friday.

In the RecycleMania competition, over 90 universities are ranked according to which has the highest rate of recycling, collects the most recyclable materials and produces the smallest amount of trash. Universities are ranked in six categories, including an overall honor of “Grand Champion.”

The entire university wasted only 34.34 pounds of garbage per person for the entire week nine. Point Loma Nazarene of San Diego currently sits atop the waste minimization category with 31.28 pounds per person after the tally of week nine’s results.

“We would probably have to do really, really well to get first,” said Kim Dinan, resource management coordinator for PSU Recycles!.

The RecycleMania competition looks to increase awareness of recycling and waste management by which school can collect the most recyclables, trash and recycle at the highest rate.

Dinan said that winning the waste minimization category was the ultimate goal, but after strong showings during some of the earlier weeks, the rate at which PSU has produced waste has climbed.

During the first week of competition PSU produced 59,575 pounds of waste. This number diminished quite a bit over the next several weeks, and at times the overall waste was down as much as 16,000 pounds.

In week eight that number soared back up to 57,780 pounds caused by the large amount of students leaving for spring break, according to Dinan. Unlike some other schools, PSU students are allowed to leave the dorms during the school year.

“A lot of people moved out of dorms and may have had excess trash,” Dinan said.

As more students move out of dorm rooms for the summer at the end of spring term, PSU Recycles! plans to hold Chuck it for Charity to help offset the amount of waste produced. PSU Recycles! created the event to collect loads of trash, recyclables and unwanted goods from students that would have otherwise gone to the landfill.

“People moving out at the end of the year is just a huge waste producer,” Dinan said.

Dinan said that it is still possible to win the RecycleMania competition, but the results from the last couple of weeks will need to improve.

“I think we can finish first,” Dinan said. “Hopefully the PSU community pulled it together and pulled out the win.”

Dinan said PSU Recycles! is very proud of the student body for helping to reduce waste. She said the university reflects the attitude of the city of Portland, and that PSU can play a big role in waste management throughout the city.

“PSU is a huge community,” Dinan said. “We have the opportunity to make a pretty big impact.”

The results alone have spoken for themselves over this 10-week period, Dinan said. The amount of waste has dropped and she noticed participation and an increased interest in the competition. Regardless of the results, she said PSU Recycles! continues to seek better ways to increase awareness and help reduce the amount of garbage put in the trash bin on a daily basis.

“It was fun and I hope that people are a little more aware about how much garbage we waste on campus,” Dinan said.