What an unconventional year for RecycleMania! UW Recycling planned several campaigns including events encouraging reusable mug/tumbler use and a clothing repair workshop. However, these events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Washington. As the competition wraps up, let’s take a look at the successful events this year:
Hands turned green with SEED
On February 12th, UW Recycling and Students Expressing Environmental Dedication (SEED) took part in “Get Caught Green-Handed.” They monitored waste stations at Local Point Café, gave advice to diners, and handed out prizes to recyclers and composters. Seventy-six people attended, which is the highest-attended Get Caught Green-Handed event in UW Recycling history!
The Bean Basket shown in the spotlight
The ASUW Student Food Cooperative’s Bean Basket partnered with UW Recycling to promote their store for a week during RecycleMania. The Bean Basket offered a special coupon on social media for shoppers buying bulk foods. The shop focuses on providing sustainable sourced foods at the lowest prices possible to the campus community. Buying in bulk reduces waste, which is one way this partnership supported waste reduction on campus.
Students followed Sqwatch’s journey around campus
UW Sustainability’s mascot Sqwatch highlighted sustainable locations on campus through a scavenger hunt on UW Recycling’s social media. Students who participated and guessed his location were entered to win a raffle. The winner of the raffle received a sustainability bundle courtesy of UW Surplus.
Turning trash into treasure
UW Recycling’s Trash Art Contest allowed the UW community to see the term “throwing away” in a new light. Art pieces were judged on originality/creativity, sustainability theme, material usage, and relevance to personal or campus waste. Check out this article highlighting the sustainable art pieces.
After many years, RecycleMania is changing its name to Campus Race to Zero Waste! UW Recycling is excited for the road ahead, and we particularly love their reasoning for the change: “Our new name better reflects and reinforces the purpose of the program – to help colleges and universities find pathways toward zero waste (90+% diverted from trash) on campus. A more comprehensive approach, zero waste accounts for everything from increasing recycling and food organics (composting) as a ratio of waste to reducing consumption, food waste, and single-use plastics.” We look forward to our campus continuing to head our nation’s race to zero waste in 2021.
RecycleMania is a friendly competition between colleges and university recycling programs. RecycleMania 2020 ran for an eight-week period from February 3 to March 28. Each week, the waste and recycling amounts were totaled to see who was on top. At the end of the 8-week period, the data was analyzed to see which colleges and universities had the highest waste diversion. Each organization reports the amount of recycling and waste diverted from the landfill.
The UW exceeded PAC 12 expectations with a 58% diversion rate! While we are proud to win the Pac-12 division for campus diversion rates, below are some statistics that all campuses contributed to for a more sustainable planet.
During this year’s 2020 competition:
- 4.5 million students and staff were reached
- 300 U.S. and Canadian campuses participated
- 48.6 million pounds of waste were recycled, composted and donated
- 380 million plastic bottles were kept from the landfill
- Campuses prevented the release of 70,875 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere, which is equal to avoiding the annual emissions from 15,047 cars!