National recycling competition pits CU against CSU in yet another area
The nationwide Recycle-Mania competition is underway and the CU Recycling program is starting strong from the get go.
The competition began on Jan. 28 and will continue until April 7, which will be the last day to weigh in recyclables and reduced waste. CU placed 12th last year, falling behind their long time state rival Colorado State University, who placed fourth out of just under 100 universities last year.
CSU has beat CU the past three years but Daniel Baril, the Colorado Environmental Center’s Recycling Program manager, said its time to recycle the Ram for a Buff victory.
“Our ideal goal is to win the entire event, but we definitely want to place within the top 10,” Baril said. “The competition is a little more severe this year.”
The competition has nearly doubled from last year. Just under 100 universities competed in 2006 compared to the 200 plus university competitors this year.
Winners are nationally known as the top recycling college in America and also receive an environmentally friendly trophy made of recyclable waste.
“People look up the winners for leadership,” Baril said. “And there is of course inherent bragging rights.”
Baril said student outreach and awareness are main goals of this event. But when the target audience is over 30,000 students who come from different places and backgrounds the situation can get a little sticky.
“All (students) don’t have that mentality,” Baril said. “But it’s a standard here and it should be everywhere.”
Baril said the CU Recycling Program begins every school year promoting this easy and beneficial lifestyle, starting with freshman.
“We focus a lot on first year students because we have a channel to reach them through,” Baril said. “If we don’t get them the first year we try and get them involved later.”
One of the main Recycle Mania events is the residence hall competition. Each residence hall competes against each other the be the title holders of the most recycled and most waste-reduced dorm. The winners will receive a sub party.
Sheela Backen, the Integrated Sold Waste Program manager at CSU said CSU also puts on a competition between residence halls, but they also include apartment buildings is the running.
“CU is definitely a rival. We love beating them,” Backen said.
Winning for CSU may not come so easy this year, though. CU Recycle already has multiple events in the works.
This Wednesday’s Recycled Art and Products Extravaganza will kick off week two of the competition. The event will feature gifts and everyday items made from recycled materials.
There is also the Recycle X-games to take place in March. CU Recycling works together with the Freshman Council to put on this outdoor games event. Activities include dumpster dive, and the recycling relay- where the student to sort the most recyclable materials first, wins.
Sierra Brashear, a senior environmental studies major, has been a part of the CU Recycling for two years and said her decision to keep coming back is simple.
“It’s the only thing that makes sense,” Brashear said. “If we want our societies to be sustainable, we need to recycle.”
Brashear also said there are more than just intrinsic values that come along with recycling.
“Recycling actually makes CU a lot of money,” Brashear said. “The university gets paid for the material that we sell back to the producing companies.”
But change doesn’t always come so easy and for that reason CU Recycling has set up over 850 collection sites on campus.
“It’s a behavioral change and those are difficult. I don’t think recycling is something that people are actively opposed to it’s just a matter of getting people to think about it,” Brashear said.
The key to winning the competition is a simple formula, said Baril.
“Less trash and more recycling,” Baril said.
According to Baril, a good and simple tactic is using coffee mugs instead of individual cups every time.
“Don’t use Styrofoam, it just doesn’t break down,” Baril said. “It’s very difficult to recycle. ”
So whether it’s eating at the UMC or tossing away the Colorado Daily between classes, think twice.
“Take your bottle, cans and papers to the recycle bin. It’s so easy and simple. If people just do that we will win,” Brashear said.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Vanna Livaditis at email@example.com.