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Recyclemania underway again

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Brown hopes to improve on its recycling record with a strong performance in this year’s Recyclemania.

Recyclemania, a ten-week long national college-campus recycling and waste minimization competition, began its eighth annual contest on Jan. 18.

According to its Web site, the program’s main goals are to “increase recycling participation by students and staff” and to “lower waste generated on-campus by reducing, reusing and recycling.”

Each week, participating schools self-report the weight of waste produced and materials recycled by their community. Schools can track their progress online at Recyclemania’s Web site and see how they compare to other universities around the country.

This is Brown’s fourth year participating in the competition, having consistently finished in the middle of the pack in past years. “Brown’s goal is to generally improve over last year, particularly in the waste minimization category,” wrote Madeleine O’Neill ’12, student co-coordinator for EcoReps in an e-mail to The Herald. EcoReps coordinates Brown’s participation in Recyclemania. Brown ranks as the top Ivy in waste minimization for the fourth week of competition, with 8.71 pounds of waste per person – down from 9.40 pounds last year and much lower than Princeton’s 12.08 pounds for the same week, according to the Web site.

During the same week, Brown recycled 0.75 pounds of paper per person, up from 0.65 pounds last year; 0.60 pounds of cardboard per person, down from 0.65 pounds; and 0.31 pounds of bottles and cans per person down, from 0.32 pounds.

O’Neill wrote that EcoReps plans on using the statistics to create educational programs such as information sessions for Residential Peer Leaders and first-year units. She added that the group recently conducted an audit of the school’s recycling bins to make sure that the bins were in the most convenient locations.

“Other schools tend to use Recyclemania as a short-term focus for improvement,” wrote O’Neill. “Brown, on the other hand, uses it as a platform for improvement in the school’s infrastructure.”

The competition has been advertised in Morning Mail, with more advertisements to come during the remaining ten weeks. But most students interviewed by The Herald were not aware of Recyclemania and were surprised to learn that it started roughly five weeks ago.

“I haven’t seen any tableslips or noticed anything,” said Ipsita Krishnan ’11, adding that had she known about the competition, she would have recycled more over the past few weeks.

Prabenzo Martadarma ’11 said, “They should advertise better. I’m really surprised.”

But Martadarma said that he would not have changed the amount he recycled even if he had known about the competition because he already recycles what he can.

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