Waste not

As far as competitions go, Recyclemania couldn’t get much simpler: recycle as much as possible and generate as little trash as possible over a 10-week period.

As far as competitions go, Recyclemania couldn’t get much simpler: recycle as much as possible and generate as little trash as possible over a 10-week period.

The annual competition kicks off Sunday, Jan. 18, and Portland State’s reputation of being a sustainable campus is on the line.

“We just want everyone to participate and make sure Portland State demonstrates that we are a sustainable campus,” said PSU Resource Management Coordinator Christel Eichner. “We in the Facilities and Planning Department want to show that we are doing our part to make Portland State sustainable as an organization.”

This will be Portland State’s fourth year participating, this time against a field of 353 other schools, Eichner said. Last year PSU placed 20th of 95 schools in the waste minimization category and 122 out of 180 in the per capita category.

“It’s an excellent opportunity to get the entire campus involved and educated about recycling at PSU,” said Sarah Horn, a graduate research assistant and outreach specialist. “Friendly competition encourages participation in our recycling efforts. We’re amping up our diversion rate to 50 percent by June of ’09, so this is a great way to make the entire campus aware of our goal.”

According to Eichner, PSU’s focus in this year’s competition will be waste-minimization, which is defined as lowering the per capita amount of generated garbage.

The weekly results of the competition, provided by Trashco, will be posted on various scoreboards throughout campus, Eichner said. Scoreboards will be located in the Millar Library, near the Viking Food Court and near the lobby of Ondine.

Ten weekly themes revolving around waste-minimization will be used to drum up enthusiasm for the competition, Eichner said.

One theme includes an event on Wednesday, Jan. 21 where waste from the Smith Memorial Student Union will be sorted.

According to Eichner, students will roll out a giant tarp onto the food court area and dump out all of the recycling to be sorted. They will separate the materials that should not be included, such as paper coffee cups, food and clamshell plastics, and establish the total weight of those unwelcome materials.

Other themes include recycled art, energy awareness, PSU Re-uses, composting and Take Back the Tap, said Eichner.

Sustainability assistant and ASPSU Senate Pro-Tempore Heather Spalding believes in Recyclemania.

“I think the Sustainability Office and PSU Recycles! will have a strong presence around the campus this spring, because our staff has communicated and planned extensively,” Spalding said.

Students will also be creating lawn signs to promote the competition made out of recycled Styrofoam, which is one of the most difficult products to recycle.

There will be several information tables on campus that will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. The tables can be found in Parkway North, between Smith and Neuberger, and between Smith and Cramer.

According to www.recyclemaniacs.org, the competition began in 2001 when Ed Newman and Stacy Edmonds Wheeler, of Ohio University and Miami University respectively, “decided that something had to be done to increase recycling in the residence and dining halls on their campuses.”

A head-to-head competition between the universities followed, with Miami University proving victorious in the first ever Recyclemania.

There are now several categories of competition, including largest amount of recyclables per capita, largest amount of total recyclables, least amount of trash per capita and highest recycling rate.

Weekly updates will be available on the Recyclemania Web site.