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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Students race to help the Earth

The campus is looking greener, but not just because the grass at the Staller Steps looks nicer.  RecyleMania, the national recycling competition between university campuses, is approaching its final days in making Stony Brook University greener this spring.

RecyleMania started on Feb. 5 and will continue through March 30 in an effort to spur competition among the dorms and other universities, as well as to increase overall recycling by students and staff.  There are several different categories and ways of calculating waste reduction within the competition.

“It’s so exciting to see people getting into the spirit of a little friendly competition,” said Mike Youdelman, a manager at Campus Operations and Maintenance.
The Internal RecycleMania 2011 competition among the dorms was won by West I which is composed of buildings A, C and D.  The competition is also a part of the year-long Battle of the Undergraduate Colleges.

Nationally, SBU is one of 38 campuses in New York participating in the tournament.  SBU is ranked 192 as of the week six results posted on RecycleMania’s website.

As of week six in the eight week competition, the campus has recycled 88,407 pounds of bottles and cans; 122,460 pounds of corrugated materials; 184,346 pounds of paper; 20,340 pounds of pre-consumer food waste from campus dining and 29,951 pounds of recyclable electronics according to Youdelman.  He also said that the numbers are only going to go up.

However, in the six weeks of the competition, SBU’s campus has generated 1,683,040 pounds of trash, according to Youdelman.  He stressed that SBU’s campus features research facilities, a hospital and the Long Island State Veteran’s Home, which are bound to generate a lot of trash, but recycling is improving in those areas.

This is the first year that SBU has been a part of the electronic recycling category, said Youdelman.  By working with building staff and managers, the campus has been able to recycle old electronics safely and properly, said Youdelman.

SBU has also been coordinating with the Faculty Student Association to recycle pre-consumer food waste, according to Youdelman.  Pre-consumer food waste is waste that restaurants or other dining facilities throw away because of overproduction, mishandling, spoilage, expiration and other reasons.  These things can often be composted.

The national competition began in 2001 as a challenge between Ohio University and Miami University, according to the 2012 RecyleMania Tournament website. Two recycling coordinators were looking for ways to motivate their students to take part in recycling, according to the website.  Miami University won by collecting about 41 pounds per person that year.

In 2004, RecycleMania partnered with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop their website and administrative support, and the tournament has been growing ever since.  The 2011 RecycleMania Tournament Grand Champion was California State Univeristy-San Marcos.

This year’s competition has 605 schools participating across 50 states and 2 Canadian provinces.  There are over 6.2 million students and staff participating.

SBU students are rising to the challenge of RecyleMania, often in the simplest of ways.  Junior psychology major Ivy Peckman said she has seen posters around her dorm advertising involvement in RecycleMania.  While Peckman does not consider herself active in the cause, she said that she does remember to recycle bottles and milk cartons.  Peckman also recalled her building’s winning the award for using the least electricity during the competition last year.

Freshman Ji Young Kim has been an active part of the competition in her own building.  “I try to encourage my roommates to recycle because I see them every day,” Kim said. “I try to remind them to recycle the plastic bottles that they buy.”

Kim noted that unplugging any cords not in use will save energy because they are actually still using energy when they are plugged in.  She also said that she turns off the faucet when she is brushing her teeth or washing her face when she doesn’t need the water.

“I think the most important thing is to get the numbers up from last year,” said Youdelman.  SBU has exceeded its results from last year’s RecycleMania challenge, and the official results of the national competition will be announced April 13 on their website.

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