Looking back at RecycleMania

Taisha White

Since 2014, Georgia Southern University has participated in RecycleMania, a nationwide collegiate tournament geared towards getting college students involved in recycling as well as creating a cleaner community.

Now three years later, the event has had a lasting impact on the GS community. Many students think the competition can help students and others.

“I think its cool that we have an event like this because it makes recycling fun,” Keaton Drinkwater, sophomore sports management major, said. “It brings awareness to the recycling itself and I think more students should get involved.”

The history of RecycleMania

The first RecycleMania event began back in 2001 between Ohio University and Miami University as a way to get students to recycle more.

In 2004, RecycleMania teamed up with the US EPA WasteWise program which brought in support for the competition. During the competition, colleges and/or universities compete in numerous categories based on the waste reduction collected, organic food and the weight of the recyclables.

The GS campus first got into the competition back in 2014.

The details

Lissa Leege, Director of the Center of Sustainability, explains not just the importance of RecycleMania, but how recycling benefits GS in the long run.

“Every bag of trash collected at Georgia Southern travels 120 miles one way to a landfill in Macon, where it will sit forever,” Leege said. “Garbage disposal costs the campus nearly $425,000 per year.”

Leege also goes on to explain the long time benefits of recycling just by making small adjustments.

“If those same items were recycled, simply by being put in a different bin, they would pay us money back instead of costing us and the recycled materials would be used to make new aluminum cans, t-shirts, cereal boxes, cardboard boxes for shipping and much more,” Leege said.

Not only does RecycleMania have colleges compete against each other, they also allow residences halls on campuses to compete as well.

The eight residence halls at GS compete to see who can recycle the most during the event. To win, residence halls will be tracked by the amount and number of full recycling cards that are redeemed within each hall for residence hall incentive points.

The winning hall receives a pizza and wing party and a traveling recycling trophy.

The thoughts

Israel Sanchez, freshman exercise science major, believes that the competition can bring long time benefits not just to the school, but the community.

“It can be a great thing for the school in the long run,” Sanchez said. “It gives the school something interesting to look forward to.”

In 2016, GS came in 1st place in the state with bottle and can recycling. During RecycleMania, over 83,000 pounds of recyclable items were collected, which is a 9,300 increase from the 2015 competition, according to the Center for Sustainability website.

Currently, GS is 2nd in the state for total recycling, in 4th place for per capita recycling and in 1st place in the state and 26th in the country for bottle and can recycling, according to Leege.