- RecycleMania originated in 2001 when two recycling coordinators, one from Ohio University and one from Miami University, decided to take advantage of an existing sports rivalry between them to motivate students to recycle.
- They challenged each other to see which school could recycle the most and used their rivalry as a catalyst for student involvement.
- Miami took the win that first year. The next year colleagues from other universities were invited to join and RecycleMania was born.
On Tuesday Jan. 31, 2012, students from SLCC, Utah State University, Weber State University, Brigham Young University, and the University of Utah met at the West Jordan Waste Management facility to formally kick off RecycleMania 2012.
RecycleMania is a ten-week recycling tournament where participating colleges and universities collect and report recycling and trash data for their campuses.
“The goal of RecycleMania is to harness the competitive spirit of colleges and universities and apply it to recycling in a friendly competition,” says Bill Rudy, president of RecycleMania Inc. and board member of the College and University Recycling Coalition representing BYU.
After the tournament data is collected, it is compiled and used to rank them according to who collects:
- the largest amount of recyclables per capita
- the largest amount of total recyclables
- the least amount of trash per capita
- or have the highest recycling rate
With each week’s reports and rankings, participating schools see how their results compare with their competitors and use this to rally their campus communities to reduce and recycle more.
Local addition to the national tournament
This year the Recycling Coalition of Utah (RCU) is hosting a special eight-week Utah competition between the five the Utah colleges and universities that will run in conjunction with the national RecycleMania tournament.
“The whole idea behind this competition is to bring attention to recycling by promoting it,” says Brad Mertz, president of the RCU.
The Utah schools will be judged and recognized for their achievements in four main areas:
- pounds per person collected
- waste minimization
- most improved recycling program
- and an MVP award will be given for the Most Valuable (Recycling) Program
Recognition and awards will be given at an RCU conference in May.
“I predict that Utah will have more recycling than other surrounding states like Colorado and Arizona,” says Rudy.
Last year’s competition
In 2011, the tournament included 630 colleges representing 49 states and four Canadian provinces.
Following the formal RecycleMania kickoff students were invited to tour Waste Managements’ facility and compete for prizes in a mixed waste sorting competition.
Students had three minutes to pull materials from a mixed waste hill and sort recyclables for the highest value. This friendly competition was judged by the Recycling Supervisors from each of the five campuses.