By Kara Blomquist
RecycleMania kicks off on Sunday.
Colleges in Canada and the United States will compete in the eight-week competition by reporting the amount of recycling and trash they collect each week.
The schools are ranked in various categories, including which school recycles the most by weight and which school recycles the most per student. There are 477 schools participating this year.
The last day of the competition is April 5 and the final results will be posted April 12.
The school that wins each category will receive national recognition along with a traveling award made out of recyclable materials that is passed around to the winner of that category from year to year.
Smith Getterman, sustainability coordinator, said RecycleMania gives Baylor a chance to see how it is doing compared to other schools. “I think it gives us a good barometer of where we are on the national picture,” he said.
This year, with Texas Christian University and the University of West Virginia now in the Big 12, Getterman said he doesn’t know what to expect, but ultimately, it is about improvement.
“I’m not necessarily looking for a placing,” he said. The competition is more about the promotion of recycling, he said. “For us, it’s really about increasing recycling,” he said.
In 2012, Baylor did not win a national award among 275 participating schools, but Baylor did finish first in the Big 12 and sixth in Texas, Getterman said. Baylor’s recycling rate was 28.29; the winning school, American University’s rate was 85.16.
Baylor has beaten Texas A&M every year since 2007, Getterman said.
“Before this year, my goal always was to beat A&M,” he said. “I think everybody’s goal, no matter what they’re doing, should be to beat A&M, but especially for us because A&M is an ag school, and we’re a private school. So if we we’re beating them, then we’re doing pretty well.”
Getterman said he thinks agricultural schools tend to be more focused on sustainability issues.
Kayla Udell, student assistant to the sustainability coordinator, said the Office of Sustainability has a unique approach to the competition.
“We don’t want to look at it as a competition,” she said. “We want to look at it as more of education and promotion, kind of like advertising recycling.”
Some of this advertising will take the form of social media announcements throughout the competition, she said.
Getterman said the main thing the Baylor community can do to help sustainability during this competition is to be intentional with their recycling.
“That’s the biggest thing I can ask students, faculty and staff to do is just pay a little bit more attention,” he said.
More information about RecycleMania can be found at http://recyclemaniacs.org/.