Web Exclusive: Recyclemania

Recyclemania Tournament, a worldwide recycling challenge that takes place during an eight-week span, began on Feb. 1 and continues through March 28. The goal of the event is to promote waste reduction on college campuses.

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville has been involved in Recyclemania for six years, weighing trash against recycling in hopes of increasing the per-capita recycling vs. trash percentage. Last year, UW-Platteville achieved a record 46.18 percent recycle rate. This year, Recyclemania campus leader Amy Seeboth-Wilson plans to beat that record. Seeboth-Wilson, UW-Platteville Sustainability Coordinator, is optimistic even though UW-Platteville is below last year’s rate with only a few weeks left.

“We are not as consistent as last year,” Seeboth-Wilson said. “We are at a 42 percentage rate opposed to last year’s 46 percent at week 5 out of 8.”

Seeboth-Wilson is dedicated in getting the word out to students, faculty, and staff about the tournament and encourages everyone to clean their offices and recycle all of the paper that would normally be thrown away. Students and staff are encouraged to remember is that recycling must be thrown in the recycling bin and garbage in the garbage bin so the materials can be weighed accordingly.

“It must be put in the recycling bin, otherwise it will be put with the garbage and not be pulled out,” Seeboth-Wilson said.

Lack of recycling during the event could be the result of laziness on the part of students, or they may not know what Recyclemania really is. Although this is the sixth year for the event on UW-Platteville’s campus, some students just haven’t been informed on the tournament. Aly Ries, junior agricultural business major, is somewhat familiar with the event.

“I have only seen posters. I think that if the word got out more, or there was some sort of incentive, students would be more willing to participate,” Ries said.

Melanie Nanke, junior mechanical engineering major, is a sustainability assistant to Seeboth-Wilson this year. She is working on a program in this year’s tournament.

“We have been doing a program called ‘Caught Green Handed’ which rewards people for recycling correctly, and it has been eye opening,” Nanke said.

This program consists of changing the placement of recycling bins in order to see how small moves can change, inhibit, or even promote recycling habits.

Even when changing around the bins and promoting the growth of recycling, UW-Platteville is behind in its numbers but there is still time to make one final push toward success.