RecycleMania! Psssst… Your waste is being measured right now

2011 RecycleMania TournamentRecycleMania is back at UW-Green Bay! Now through April 2 the challenge is on to reduce waste and increase recycling levels across campus.

RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. UW-Green Bay is one of 677 colleges and universities nationwide taking part this year.

Laurie Case, the institution’s sustainability and strategic planning coordinator, says the University, with the help of our solid waste hauler, Waste Management, is recording and reporting recycling and trash collection data over a 4-week period from February 28 through April 2.

The first few weeks of measurement, through Spring Break, established this year’s baseline “normal” level of recycling and trash disposal. Since March 21, promotional efforts have focused on encouraging people to make a difference by taking a moment to think before they buy something, or before they discard an item, and to think about whether the item can be reused or recycled.

Posters and tabletop tents in the Union and signage on existing receptacles across campus are spreading the message, Case says. Students from the Public and Environmental Affairs Club along with sustainability interns are promoting RecyleMania in student publications, in social media and at the Residence Life complex.

“We’ll try to move, as a campus community, from ‘normal’ to ‘outstanding,’” Case said, “by increasing recyclables per capita, increasing the amount of total recyclables and generating the least amount of trash per capita. By everyone taking part, let’s make a difference by using less and recycling more.”

The student groups are organizing a competition around submitting ideas for reducing, reusing and recycling: “What’s Your Best Idea to Recycle or Reuse Stuff?” Students are being asked to “Challenge your creativity and submit your best idea to reduce waste, recycle and reuse things that might otherwise go to a landfill! Submit your best ideas… Prizes include the brand new “Eco-U” logo t-shirt, and more. The survey is open for submissions through Wednesday, March 30. Judging is conducted by Student Government Environmental Affairs subcommittee, PEAC, and the UW-Green Bay Sustainability Committee.” Questions can be directed to Kaitlyn Gilles at

DID YOU KNOW recycling factoids…

  • The average person in the U.S. throws away over 1, 130 pounds of waste per year.
  • Last year, UW-Green Bay spent almost $62,000 for solid waste disposal. That’s the in-state tuition and fees for 8.6 students!
  • Glass never wears out — it can be recycled forever. We save over a ton of resources for every ton of glass recycled — 1,330 pounds of sand, 433 pounds of soda ash, 433 pounds of limestone, and 151 pounds of feldspar.
  •  $1 out of every $11 Americans spend for food goes for packaging.
  •  A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can, in as little as 60 days. That’s closed loop recycling at its finest!
  • About one-third of an average dump is made up of packaging material!
  • The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste.
  • On average, it costs $30 per ton to recycle trash, $50 to send it to the landfill, and $65 to $75 to incinerate it.
  •  An estimated 80,000,000 Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped each day, using enough aluminum foil to cover over 50 acres of space — that’s almost 40 football fields. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it.

For more facts and figures on recycling in Wisconsin, click

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