Kent State University hosts eight-week recycling competition

More than 11,000 pounds of electronic waste, including computers, phones and gaming consoles, collected during RecycleMania await disposal at the University Facilities Management store room on Summit Street on Wednesday, April 17. Photo by Shane Flanigan.

Lauren Biertempfel

Recyclemania is a yearly eight week-long national competition between residence halls to encourage students to reduce waste and recycle that began Feb. 1.

Kent State has taken part in the program for the past five years during the spring semester, said Chris Tankersley, assistant director of Residential Services.

“The idea behind it is to have a longer-term program during the spring semester to encourage students and faculty and staff to not only recycle more, but to learn a little bit more about how they can reduce what they are using on campus and to have a better sense of the ability to recycle on campus,” Tankersley said.

The event also promotes awareness about the recycling bins located in every office, classroom and residence hall on campus, he said.

Students participating in “Recycle-mania” challenge from on Vimeo.

The Recyclemania competition only monitors Kent State’s performance as a whole and the university itself decided to break it down into a residence hall competition, said Melanie Knowles, manager of sustainability.

The organization looks at weight minimization and breaks the event down into competitions, one of which is the Game Day Challenge to see what school can recycle the most at a basketball game, Knowles said.

Kent State will participate in the Game Day Challenge, but the game and date have yet to be determined, she said.

Kent State does not recycle glass, plastic and paper individually, so each week Portage County Recycling reports the volume of recyclables. That number is then reported to Recyclemania to monitor Kent State’s progress throughout the event, Knowles said.

“We calculate the weight based on an approved volume to weight conversion ratio,” Knowles said. “We do have an additional number for cardboard.”

The event is advertised through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and through fliers that are posted around campus, Knowles said.

Residence Hall Directors and resident assistants also play a role in creating student awareness for Recyclemania.

“Some of my staff’s bulletin boards are about Recyclemania to really encourage other residents to also be recycling,” said Meghan Miller, residence hall director at Stopher and Johnson halls.

Hall councils also are able to help promote the event with peer-to-peer communication, she said.

“I think the biggest benefit is trying to lessen our carbon footprint and really teaching residents that the future is up to them and generation that have yet to come,” Miller said.

Kent State also informally competes with the University of Akron to see who recycles more. In the past three years, Kent State has beat Akron, Knowles said.

Kent State is in the competition division of Recyclemania, along with 15 other schools in Ohio. In total, 259 schools around the country are enrolled in the competition this year, Knowles said.

Last year, Kent State ranked 175 out of 259 schools with a 22.846 percent recycling rate.

The program is run through Kent State’s Office of Sustainability, located in Harbourt Hall.

Contact Lauren Biertempfel at [email protected].