STAMFORD, Conn. (Feb. 3, 2014) — Let the competition begin. Through March 29, a special kind of madness is in the air at college campuses across the nation – the 14th annual RecycleMania, the national tournament for colleges and universities competing to reduce, reuse and recycle the most. For an eight-week period, beginning today and running concurrently with the NCAA basketball tournament, colleges and universities take part in an exciting competition that increases recycling participation by students and staff, while raising awareness about waste reduction on campuses.
This year, 461 schools, with more than 5.3 million students and over 1.2 million faculty and staff, are participating in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. New York has the best representation with 32 colleges participating, followed by Pennsylvania and Texas. A diverse mix of schools are taking part, ranging from Harvard University to Clemson University to Sitting Bull College in North Dakota.
The competition is made possible with the continued support of Alcoa Foundation, the American Forest & Paper Association, The Coca-Cola Company and SCA Tissue.
Schools compete in any of 11 categories targeting commonly recycled or composted materials such as paper and paper-based packaging, aluminum, plastics bottles, electronics and food organics. Updated rankings published online each Friday allow schools to track their progress and rally to improve their standings against rival colleges.
“RecycleMania is exciting because it builds on traditional college rivalries by adding recycling to the list of things that schools can brag about when it comes to their archrivals,” said Stacy Wheeler, president of RecycleMania, Inc. “The competition aspect of the event makes it fun and helps to encourage everyone on the entire campus to make recycling a part of their daily routines.”
Promotional resources are offered to help schools spread the word on campus, including free posters and banners, small “stipend” grants and “Event in a Box” toolkits featuring activity planning tips, promotional giveaway items and other materials needed to stage attention-getting events.
“Encouraging waste reduction and recycling among college students is crucial to building and sustaining vibrant communities, both on campuses and beyond,” said Keep America Beautiful’s Brenda Pulley, senior vice president, recycling. “Supporting RecycleMania is a key component of KAB’s efforts to improve recycling on college campuses.”
“RecycleMania is unique in its ability to reach college students – an important and influential audience. Because they have developed recycling habits early, these students have the potential to help advance recycling in the future,” said Esra Ozer, President of Alcoa Foundation. “RecycleMania helps millions of students, faculty and staff capture an extraordinary amount of recyclable material. Given Alcoa Foundation’s goal of driving greater recycling rates, we have a natural partner in RecycleMania and are eager to see the results of this competition.”
“Programs like RecycleMania motivate people to recycle and to measure the results of their efforts,” said American Forest & Paper Association president and CEO Donna Harman. “The paper industry has achieved noteworthy recovery goals for years, and we thank the millions of individuals who make the choice to recycle every day. Our industry has pledged to exceed 70 percent recovery of our products for recycling by 2020, and initiatives like RecycleMania will help us get there.”
“Coca-Cola is committed to increasing recycling rates and advancing local recycling initiatives,” said Bruce Karas, vice president of environment and sustainability at Coca-Cola. “RecycleMania encourages students to recycle through friendly competition among universities. Through this program, we hope recycling becomes a long-term habit.”
“Best of luck to all of the colleges and universities participating in this year’s RecycleMania contest! We’re eager to follow the competition and encourage everyone to recycle more and reduce waste,” said Joseph Russo, vice president, sales & marketing, SCA’s AfH Professional Hygiene business in North America. “It’s very meaningful for SCA to continue to be a part of this annual recycling tradition. It’s one of the many ways we show our passion for sustainability while urging others to make recycling a year-round commitment.”
In 2013, 91 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials were recovered, which prevented the release of greenhouse gases comparable to the carbon sequestered by 99,535 acres of U.S. forests in one year.
A complete list of participants can be found at Recyclemania.org. Contact information for specific campuses is available to news media by calling (202) 417-7379 or emailing email@example.com.
RecycleMania was launched in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. Today, RecycleMania is an independent program of RecycleMania, Inc. The program is made possible with sponsorship support from the Alcoa Foundation, American Forest & Paper Association, The Coca-Cola Company and SCA. Program management is provided by Keep America Beautiful with additional program support from the U.S. EPA’s WasteWise program and the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC). RecycleMania is proud to partner with the Building Green Initiative, the Campus Conservation Nationals, National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology. To learn more about RecycleMania, visit recyclemania.org.