To advance in RecycleMania, all community members must participate

Recycling: not as savage as a dodgeball tournament, but for the next five weeks, consider yourself to be in a campus-wide, waste-dodging contest. The rules of the game, RecycleMania, call for blue bins as allies. Avoid beige bins like the plague. Our battle cry is, as termed by Case's RecycleMania coordinator, Linda Robson, "Use less and recycle the rest!"

RecycleMania just ended its fifth week today, but as of Feb. 7, we are in 118th place for the Per Capita Classic division, 74th in the Waste Minimization division, and 107th in the Grand Champion competition. Just as Case is a Div. III school for sports, we appear to be in the same modest position for RecycleMania.

Case may not be in the lead - in fact, we are nowhere near the lead - but the attention and participation gained through RecycleMania's recycling and waste minimization efforts are laudable. Just to refresh your memory, for the remaining five weeks (the competition started Jan. 18 and ends on March 28), everything you recycle will be weighed and recorded at the end of each week. If the thought of people weighing your waste is not strange enough, the results are posted online for other participating universities to observe and compare results. As participants, we should all keep track of Case's rankings and think twice before throwing away our 20-ounce soda bottles and pizza boxes.

The first couple weeks of the competition are considered a trial period or "warm-up." They are published on the RecycleMania website, but not factored into the cumulative end-of-the-competition product. To date, our performance has been modest.

At No. 118 (out of 277 schools) for the Per Capita Classic division, Case is recycling 1.47 cumulative recyclable pounds per person. Comparatively, the leading school in this division, United States Coast Guard Academy, recycles 8.65 pounds per person. In the Waste Minimization Division, we are ranked No. 74 (out of 147 schools), producing 6.17 pounds of waste per person. The leading school, Santa Monica College, produces 0.82 pounds per person. Since we are participating in both the Waste Minimization and Per Capita Classic division, we qualify for the Grand Champion competition, where we are ranked No. 107 (out of 195 schools), with a cumulative recycling rate of 23.87 percent. The leading school here, California State University-San Marcos, recycles at a rate of 82.32 percent.

Robson predicts that our university's ranking will rise this week. This past Sunday, the Juniper Residential College Council began an individual recycling competition between residence hall floors to recycle the most items. In the nursing school, "green teams" are working toward paper reduction, and Weatherhead has started a new green printing program throughout the building to decrease paper consumption.

The important difference between Case as a Div. III school for sports and Case as a Div. III-ranked university in the RecycleMania competition is that as a campus community member, each of us can and should assist Case to win or gain a higher ranking. We cannot just rely on a team of recyclers or reducers to win this competition; we all need to step up and acknowledge the importance of waste minimization and recycling. Barbara Snyder signed the University Presidents' Climate Commitment last fall because she was serious about Case having an energy-conscious attitude. As students and faculty members, we need to be just as committed.

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