Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Office of Waste Management enters ‘Recycle Mania’ contest

By Dan Terk, Collegian Staff

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The Office of Waste Management at the University of Massachusetts has entered Recycle Mania, a friendly recycling competition that 50 other colleges and universities nationwide are also taking part in.

UMass choose to participate in Recycle Mania in order to improve its already notable recycling program. The competition is designed to “inspire students through school pride” and provoke them to be more conscious as to what they recycle and what they throw out said John Pepi the General Manager of the office of Waste Management.

“It is difficult,” he said, “to motivate students to recycle.” It is because of this fact that Recycle Mania was started by Ohio and Maine universities four years ago. Similar competitions between residence hall have been sponsored by the University’s own Office of Waste Management in past years. These programs however did not show a great increase in the quantity of recycling.

The winning school receives a Recycle Mania trophy and a form of “bragging rights.” All of the schools that do not win must take out an ad in their universities newspaper promoting the winning school. This is one of the major incentives for students to help in the recycling effort.

The competition has two categories: pounds recycled per students and pounds recycled per total pounds of trash generated. Pepi is not sure if we will be able to win the first category but he thinks he have a good chance in the later.

UMass currently recycles 54 percent of all waste, which ranks the campus as one of the top ten in the nation. Yet only 10 percent of the waste from residence halls is recycled, a number Pepi hopes to be increased to 20 percent. Even worse is that an enormous one-third of all the actually trash thrown out in the residence halls could actually be recycled.

At times students have complained about the recycling on the campus, yet Pepi believes this is simply due to a miscommunication. The trucks that pick up recyclables and trash look the same, therefore many students think that recyclables are actually being thrown out, but this is not true. Also there have been instances that custodians have been seen throwing out recyclables, yet this is not the policy of the Office of Waste Management. If any students want to report any discrepancies about the recycling infrastructure on campus they should feel free to contact the Office of Waste Management.

A campus wide promotion is planned including radio and TV spots, signs, banners, and support from Resident Assistants. “My goal,” according to Pepi, “is to take another step forward in recycling and waste management with the students help.”

Weekly standings of all the schools as well as more information can be viewed at www.RecycleMania.org.

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