UTM continues participation in recycling movement
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 11:02
How do you get students to throw waste in the recycling bin instead of the trash? Develop a nationwide collegiate competition.
This is the third year that UTM has participated in a national recycling contest, RecycleMania. Recyclemania is an 8-week competition that started Feb. 3 and will end March 30. It is held every spring between colleges throughout the United States and Canada. The amount of recycling and trash collected is turned in at the end of each week and ranked. RecycleMania began in 2001 as a friendly competition between school rivals Ohio University and Miami University and grew to the point where in 2012, there were 605 colleges participating.
RecycleMania was created to help raise awareness on college campuses about recycling. Even though most campuses have some sort of recycling program, it is hard to get students to get in the habit of recycling everyday items when there is a trash can right in front of them.
“People think it’s a hippie thing, but it’s really not. If you care, take that extra ten seconds to recycle,” UTM Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Angie MacKewn said.
UTM’s involvement in RecycleMania began in 2010 when MacKewn entered UTM into the competition. The first year UTM had a 33.98 percent cumulative recycling rate and was ranked 66 out of the 267 colleges and universities in the competition division. In 2011, the recycling rate spiked 10 percent to 43.84. And last year, UTM was ranked 26 out of 266 schools with a 49.99 percent recycling rate.
Walking on UTM’s campus, there are so many places where students have the opportunity to recycle their used water bottles and paper. In every building, there are recycling bins for the convenience of the students, yet some students still throw their recyclables in the trash.
MacKewn along with Dennis Kosta, Manager of Custodial Services, helped start a recycling group, UTM Recycles!, on campus. UTM Recycles! includes the faculty, students and community in Martin. It was created to help educate people on why recycling is important and how much we can save.
“We spend $100,000 on garbage removals. The dumpsters are not full, but we are still charged this amount. Recycle more, and throw out less,” MacKewn said.
In 2011, UTM won the prestigious Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Excellence in Green Schools Higher Education. Not only does UTM Recycles! support and encourage recycling, it provides different ways of reaching its target audience through educational talks and sponsored events.
The Recycle Barn on campus is located at 105 N. Moody near the Agricultural Pavilion. Everyone on campus and in the Martin community is encouraged to use the facility free of charge.