By CG Lifestyles & People Editor Sarah DeCarlo
Ohio University is expected to have increased its standing in this year’s RecycleMania challenge by approximately 30 percent compared to 2010’s results.
RecycleMania is a national recycling competition beginning Jan. 24 and lasting 10 weeks. Final results will not be available until April 15, but the most recent rankings can be viewed here.
As of week 9, OU’s ranking in the Grand Champion division among competition division schools is 58 of 391. Last year, OU’s overall ranking was 101 of 267. The state rank is currently five.
OU is one of the leading pioneer schools both state and nationwide, with all five of its regional campuses competing this year.
According to the official website, RecycleMania was founded in 2001 by Ed Newman, manager of the Office of Recycling and Refuse at OU, and Stacy Edmonds Wheeler of Miami University. The competition, was originally just between OU and Miami, but eventually spread over the following years to include schools from all 50 states, Canada and the UK.
Newman, OU’s main recycling initiator, is excited about the strides his school has made to increase its standing in the competition.
“I’m a cheerleader, sort of, you know?” Newman said. “Without the pom-poms.”
He said OU’s expanded composting system as being one of the largest contributing factors in this change.
“We’re only one of three schools out of 30 in Ohio even competing in [the composting competition],” Newman said.
However, Newman also said that there are many possible improvements that can be taken to further increase OU’s standings in coming years. He discussed initiatives such as expanding the composting system to all dining halls and increasing recycling in academic and administrative buildings.
“We’re not doing badly now, but we can do a lot better,” Newman said.
While Newman and other OU officials are interested in raising their individual ranking, they said that the competition has a much broader scope. It is about raising awareness to recycling and its benefits in the minds of future world leaders.
“The larger thing beyond competition is reducing our carbon footprint,” Newman said. “We’re reducing our demand of the world’s resources, we’re being a better neighbor in the world community, we’re helping to create economic opportunities, we’re reducing habitat and species loss…there’s all those issues that come into play. [This competition] has a lot of important implications.”