RecycleMania project not ‘wasted’ on student graphic artist

A weeklong schedule of events meant to bring greater awareness to “RecycleMania” at UW-Green Bay meant a special portfolio-building opportunity for design arts and business student Sarah Schrader, a graphic design employee at the University Union.

Schrader was given the assignment to design a display for the “Take your top off and drop your bottoms,” promotion. That might sound a bit… spicy… until you see the graphic and realize that the sustainability project is creating awareness regarding the proper recycling of plastic bottles. Then it makes perfect sense.

UW-Green Bay Sustainability Coordinator Laurie Case explains:

“A lot of recycling facilities do not accept plastic caps,” she said. “It’s a different plastic than the bottles and can potentially contaminate the waste stream. So the promotional team working on RecycleMania came up with the idea of ‘take your top off’ and Sarah came up with the design.”

A’viands saved condiment jars to collect caps at each of more than 60 recycling stations across campus. Caps and bottles were collected at several UW-Green Bay men’s and women’s basketball games for reuse in events and displays during RecycleMania.

RecycleMania is a competition designed to build awareness around recycling and waste minimization. More than 500 colleges and universities across the country participate to encourage minimizing their waste stream and increase recycling rates.

The weeklong activities — a “sustainability fair” of sorts — to be held in the Cloud Commons from Feb. 27 to March 2, are the result of a collaborative effort including members of the Public and Environmental Affairs Council (PEAC) student organization, and staff members Pam Koehler-Zastrow (A’viands), Adam Halfmann (Athletics), Stephanie Kaponya (Student Life) and Kelly Kramp (Union), along with Case.

Among the many activities and highlights of the fair: curtains made of recycled bottles, a balloon wall display made entirely of plastic caps; craft opportunities (using the caps), reusable bag give-away for students, Zimride and U-Pass information, vendors (Red Barn, Naked Juice, Old World Pasteries Plus), a stack-the-caps contest, and a pledge wall for which ‘pledgers’ will be entered in a bike give-away.

For Schrader, the project was both practical and provided an experience that she can use in her professional portfolio.

“The campaign is very practical,” Schrader said. “I see a lot of bottles in the recycle bins on campus with their caps still on it. I hope that the design and campaign as a whole will help create awareness that those tops are not the same type of plastic as the bottles and bottle tops will start coming off. Working on the design for this campaign piece allowed me to gain more experience with all of the essential programs that I use in my design work.”

According to Case, this is the first year in which UW-Green Bay has participated in the competitive category in RecycleMania.

“By bringing some extra attention to recycling and waste minimization through a week-long event, we hope to encourage all members of the campus community to be more aware of their purchasing and disposal habits, and of course, it would be great to do well in the competition, too,” Case said.

You can check out where UWGB ranks in the RecycleMania competition by checking the sustainability blog.

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