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Paper or Plastic – Recycling Contest Underway

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
January 21, 2009

In 2008, UNH recycled 162 tons of corrugated cardboard, 122 tons of plastic and more than 300 tons of paper.  This year, the university is aiming to top that by competing against schools around the country to see who can pull the highest numbers in the 2009 RecycleMania challenge.

From now until March 18, UNH will go up against 492 colleges and universities nationwide to see who can recycle the most paper, corrugated cardboard, bottles, cans and food scraps. RecycleMania, a friendly competition that helps promote waste reduction programs and activities on college campuses, makes the good practice fun.

During a 10-week period, the schools file weekly reports on their recycling and trash collection efforts, allowing contestants to see how they are stacking up week to week against their competitors.

The entire UNH community is urged to participate, if not for the satisfaction of being sustainable then for the glory: there are titles to be won.

The Stephen K. Gaski Per Capita Classic Prize goes to the school with the most combined recyclables per capita (weight of recyclables/population). The Gorilla Prize honors the top gross tonnage collector regardless of campus population. And the Waste Minimization Prize gives the nod to the school with the lowest amount of total waste per capita (weight of recyclables plus the weight of trash/population).  

Those vying for the Waste Minimization Prize must pledge to undertake at least three specific waste reduction practices beyond the competition. With help from the Student Senate, UNH decided on the following three measures:

  1. Replace paper documents with online alternatives whenever possible (i.e., telephone directories, course catalogs, room selection, bill payment, grade distribution, etc.).
  2. Activate program to reduce unwanted bulk mail from off-campus sources (i.e., creating an opt-out registry for staff and faculty; housing sending out bulk mail removal postcards on behalf of former residents; encouraging the cancellation of unnecessary or duplicate subscriptions.)
  3. Implement campus printing initiatives which prohibit or discourage unlimited printing in computer labs and copy rooms (pay-per-sheet pricing, etc.)

RecycleMania was started in 2001 between two schools, Miami University and Ohio University. In 2007, more than 200 schools participated. Today that number has more than doubled.

For more information on recycling at UNH visit http://www.sustainableunh.unh.edu/faq.html#wasterecycling.

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