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Waste Reduction Challenge

Eight-Week RecycleMania Competition Begins Sunday 

RecycleMania brings a campus-wide focus on waste reduction, through reuse, recycling and composting. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 2, 2017) — For the 11th year, UAlbany will compete in the national Collegiate RecycleMania competition, run by the nonprofit Keep America Beautiful.

The competition, which last year included 350 schools from 48 states, kicks off Feb. 5 and runs for eight weeks, challenging schools to reduce waste and increase recycling.

Colleges and universities compete in several categories based on the weight of materials recycled, food organics composted and trash diverted from landfills. Each week, schools report their data and the rankings are updated. Educational activities, displays and other outreach efforts encourage students and staff to participate.

During last year’s challenge, UAlbany ranked 10th in the organics diversion category, composting 145,020 pounds of food waste. Students, faculty and staff also recycled 114,440 pounds of materials — earning the University fifth place in the Most Improved Recycling category — and diverted a total of 566,760 pounds of trash.

The 2017 RecycleMania tournament will feature competitions focused on recycling electronics and diversion efforts at home basketball games, as well a new pilot category — “Race to Zero Waste” — which will rank schools based on comprehensive waste diversion from an individual campus building.

“RecycleMania is an effective tool for colleges and universities to educate their students and staff about recycling and waste reduction,” said Alec Cooley, Keep America Beautiful director of recycling programs and RecycleMania's program manager. “The program provides a fun, interactive framework for sustainability officers and student environmental groups to communicate the benefits of recycling in a way that resonates on college campuses. Most important, it helps to cultivate a new generation of recycling ambassadors and community stewards.”

The University at Albany disposes of approximately 2,110 tons of garbage per year, and recycles 320 tons of mixed paper, 10 tons of comingled product (glass, plastic, tin), 33 tons of scrap metal, 1.5 tons of tires, 1.75 tons of motor oil, and six tons of kitchen grease.

How to Participate

  • Get Caught Green Handed: Look out for the UAlbany Green Scene catching people “green-handed” during RecycleMania. Students caught practicing the 3 R’s will be rewarded with small giveaways and be able to enter a raffle for a chance to win a UAS Gift Card.
  • Basketball Game Recycling: The UAlbany Green Scene will be sponsoring the recycling program happening at UAlbany basketball games, where they pick up recyclable bottles in efforts to make the athletic events more sustainable. Anyone is welcome to lend a hand and earn community service hours. Visit UAlbany Green Scene MyInvolvement forms page to sign up for a home game.
  • Trashion Fashion: Do you have what it takes to be UAlbany’s next great designer? UAlbany is hosting its 4th annual Trashion Fashion show, where you can create an ensemble made from reclaimed and recyclable materials. Entry categories include Student and Greek Organization, LLC, Living Area (Quad/Apartments), Individual and Campus Office. Winning student designs will win a gift card valuing $100 and the winning campus office will receive a breakfast sponsored by UAlbany Students for Sustainability. The entry form on MyInvolvement will be available in mid-February.

For more information on waste reduction and recycling on campus, click here. Check out this brochure for essentials on waste reduction at UAlbany.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.