Hundreds of colleges participate in RecycleMania every spring semester for eight weeks, competing with each other to see which school can recycle the most material. Last year, K-State placed 153 out of 273 schools in the competition division with a 26.73 percent recycling rate. The K-State Recycling Center is now prepping for the annual RecycleMania competition.
In order to prepare, the Recycling Center was awarded 75 new recycling bins from the Alcoa Foundation, which were placed throughout campus with the motto, “One Stop Drop.”
No more will students have to sort their recyclables.The “One Stop Drop” system enables students and faculty members to simply drop any recyclable material into the same bin. Bill Spiegel, recycle coordinator of the Recycling Center, hopes this will be easier, save time and encourage everyone on campus to recycle more.
“People ask me how I do this,” Spiegel said. “And I tell them ‘I don’t recycle. We recycle as a university.’”
According to Spiegel, K-State’s recycling has increased throughout this last year. In August, K-State recycled 134,000 pounds of material, which is the largest amount K-State has ever recycled. From Aug. 19 to Sept. 19, campus refuse totaled around 472,000 pounds, of which around 172,000 pounds were recycled. From June to September, 43 tons of soil were recycled from the greenhouses, saving the university around $2,300.
“This is a great partnership between us and the horticulture department,” Spiegel said. “We save the university a great deal of money and we keep it out of landfills.”
The new bins were donated as part of a two-year program designed to promote recycling on campus. Alcoa, partnering with the national nonprofit group, Keep America Beautiful, provides more than 11,500 recycling bins to 35 universities. Of the 75 new bins K-State was awarded, 65 have been placed around academic buildings, athletic facilities, administrative offices and outdoor public spaces.
“Alcoa Foundation has been a true leader in advancing recycling nationwide through its support of its bin grant and other programs,” said Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful in a press release. “Its involvement with RecycleMania and the College and University Recycling Coalition’s webinar series has helped to increase recycling on campuses and instill a recycling ethic that college students will carry with them the rest of their lives.”
However, Kristy Urich, freshman in personal finance, said recycling wasn’t all too important to her.
“On a scale of one to 10, I’d say it’s about a five for me,” Urich said. “I used to recycle a lot more at home than here because here I mainly use actual water bottles than plastic ones and I eat at the Derby and use their silverware that they wash instead of the plastic ones.”
While recycling may not be a high priority for some students, others, such as Ashlee Wolters, junior in public relations, think recycling is needed. Wolters said she recycles once a day and usually recycles plastic bottles.
“It’s a small way for me to be involved in helping the environment, even though it’s not a huge step towards saving the environment,” Wolters said.