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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

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    Recyclemania Reaches Mid-way Mark

    Midway through the competition, Recyclemania is in full swing.

    About three weeks remain in the annual competition, that will last until Mar. 28, and Stony Brook students and faculty are encouraged by the Department of Recycling and Resource Management to participate in any way that they can.

    The department is encouraging the campus community to get involved any way they can.

    Promotional banners have been draped around the campus and a “kick-off” event was held on Jan. 28 in the Student Activities Center lobby. Also, “Recyclemania Bucks” are being distributed by RAs of different residential halls to residents who show that they’re actively participating in the program by recycling in their building.

    There are many factors that contribute to Stony Brook’s performance in Recyclemania. First, there’s the method in which the school measures the total weight of its recyclables. Stony Brook uses a certified university truck scale to measure its data in “actual weights,” while other schools make estimates about the weights of their results.

    Another aspect that goes into Stony Brook’s performance in Recyclemaia is its participation in the “whole campus” designation of the competition. This requires all of Stony Brook’s campuses, including the Southampton campus, Veterans Home, Medical Center and apartments, to be taken into consideration when weighing and gathering the school’s results.

    Typically, campuses such as Stony Brook that operate with large hospitals as well as other medical and research-related activities generate a lot of trash instead of recyclables.

    A final aspect that comes into effect when considering Stony Brook’s results is the Full-Time Equivalent (FTE), campus population. The FTE number of students is 21,199, the number of faculty members is 3,833 and the number of hospital staff is 4,945, according to recyclemaniacs.org. The FTE complete population of the Stony Brook campus, which is the number used to determine the “per person” results in most categories, is 29,977 people, according to the website.

    While Stony Brook’s performance in some aspects of the competition so far have been deserving of praise, other categories have room for improvement. Stony Brook has shown the best results in the Gorilla Prize category — being ranked 20 out of 288 participating schools. This category measures the highest gross tonnage of recyclables per school.

    Stony Brook’s worst category thus far is the Waste Minimization category, which determines which school has collected the lowest amount of municipal solid waste per person. The goal of this competition is to determine which school yields the least waste in order to determine which is the most effective at diverting recyclables to their correct destination instead of the trash. Stony Brook is currently ranked 132 out of 146 participating schools in this category.

    In the Grand Champion category, which combines the school’s performance in all of the competitions, Stony Brook is currently ranked as 152 of 198 participating schools.

    Stony Brook is currently ranked second of all participating schools in New York State in the Gorilla Prize category, slightly behind the Rochester Institute of Technology.

    In addition to recycling paper, bottles, cans and cardboard both around the campus and in residential halls, there are many ways that students and faculty are able to help boost Stony Brook’s score during the 10 weeks of Recyclemania.

    If the national contest wasn’t incentive enough, students living on campus are encouraged to participate in internal contests between residential halls in each quad. The building within each quad with the highest recycling statistics during Recyclemania will win a prize.

    “The internal contests are a great way to motivate the student residential population as they get very spirited about who is conducting the best recycling program, and in turn get to have bragging rights over fellow students,” said Michael Youdelman, manager of the Department of Recycling and Resource Management.

    Faculty can contribute by scheduling events in their offices where old papers that aren’t being used are recycled in order to harvest more paper for the competition.

    Students can do the same in their residential halls by cleaning their rooms to eliminate clutter while cultivating Recyclemania points. RAs can schedule presentations given by the Department of Recycling and Resource Management that will further educate attendees from their residential halls about Recyclemania and recycling on campus.

    “Ultimately, what we are after is helping to educate the university community about the benefits of recycling and sustainability, and how it all adds up when each of us does our part,” Youdelman said.

    “The cumulative effects of all of our actions at Stony Brook University, combined with the 500-plus universities competing nationally is a great way to make a difference and lower our overall negative impacts on the environment,” he said.

    Stony Brook is yielding slightly higher results than those of last year. Compared to week five in the 2008 competition, Stony Brook has the same number of pounds per person in the Waste Minimization Category. In the Gorilla Prize category, the school has actually improved its score by an average of 13,301 pounds than where it stood at this point in the competition last year. With all categories considered, however, Stony Brook has dropped in its Grand Champion score, from a 19.54 percent recycling rate per week in 2008 to 17.13 percent this year.

    Participation by everyone on campus will be necessary to improve the school’s overall score and help push Stony Brook towards a victory in this year’s Recyclemania competition. With half of the competition already behind us, we can use the knowledge of our current scores to motivate us to achieve better results in the future weeks.

    To check for weekly updates in the competition, visit recyclemaniacs.org.

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