RecycleMania kicks off

Courtesy of ProProfs.com

By BRITTANY BAKER
[email protected]

Reppin’ the environment since 2009, Allegheny’s Eco-Reps are currently working to promote the ten–week nationwide Recyclemania contest that runs from now until March 27.

Recyclemania is a nationwide college-based initiative to reduce, reuse and recycle. Each week during the ten week long program, schools send in data that measures our school’s waste in pounds per person and volume-to-weight ratios that yield more accurate measurements.

According to the Recyclemania website, the contest began in 2001 as a competition between two schools, Ohio University and Miami University, to see which school could lessen the waste output from their dining halls. In 2009, over 500 schools participated.

Now, Allegheny is competing in waste minimization.

“Waste minimization includes replacing paper documents with online alternatives, promoting the use of printer settings that optimize paper reduction software and discounts and incentives for reusable mugs in campus dining,” said Kritika Kapadia, ’11.

But minimizing waste means optimizing involvement in the student body.

“The past two years we’ve done fairly well compared to other colleges on the amount we compost and save from landfills,” said Sustainability Coordinator, Kelly Boulton. “What we haven’t focused on is mobilizing the whole college community to improve waste minimization and sorting.”

Enter the Eco-Reps.

The Eco-Reps, a group of students (many of whom are Environmental Science majors), are working in conjunction with the Center for Economic and Environmental Development and Kelly Boulton, as the liaison between environmental initiatives on campus and the community at large.

“Kelly does these initiatives as the Sustainability Coordinator,” said Allegheny Eco-Rep Chris Mylan, ‘11. “We’re promoting, advertising and engaging the community. We are basically her PR.”

Their influence seems to be spreading. So far, after week two, Allegheny has reduced .31 pounds per person more than week two of Recyclemania last year.

Still, the Eco-Reps sense that their goal of instilling a sense of environmental stewardship campus-wide is yet to be reached.

“Events tend to be attended by the same group of people,” Mylan said. “We feel the events should be widened toward campus.”

Eco-Reps have a few home-grown green tricks up their sleeves to perhaps widen their influence this semester. The campus community can look forward to an eco-fashion show and “Celebrity Trash Day,” in which faculty or other Allegheny “celebrities” sort through trash from residence halls and campus buildings that is laid out in piles on a tarp in the Campus Center lobby.

“The purpose is to show that the majority of trash thrown away could be recyclable or compostable,” Kapadia said.

To follow Allegheny’s campus-wide Recyclemania’s stats week-by-week, visit recyclemania.org.