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Recycling efforts take competitive edge

February 24th, 2011

“Going Green” is one of the most popular and talked about issues of the decade. “Going Green” can include driving an environmentally-friendly car, using reusable grocery bags and recycling. The latter has been promoted for many years and even though some communities have stopped collecting, individuals are still encouraged to recycle on their own.

John Carroll has joined an organization to promote recycling called Recyclemania. Recyclemania is a national competition currently including about 630 colleges and universities.

Schools report their recycling data and are ranked accordingly. The data consists of recyclables per capita, amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita and the rate of recycling. According to an article by Marietta College’s newspaper, The Marcolian, the competition begins Feb. 6 and ends April 2. Last year JCU ranked first among schools in the Ohio Athletic Conference, followed by the University of Mount Union and Marietta College. The program began in 2001 and initially only consisted of Ohio University and Miami University in Oxford.

Recyclemania encourages all clubs and organizations to get involved in the competition in order to achieve the best results.

Andrew Fronczek, JCU’s director of purchasing and auxiliary services, is in charge of contracts for waste removal.

Fronczek said that approximately three or four years ago he was informed of the University becoming involved with the Recyclemania project. It became Fronczek’s job to measure how much recycling JCU produced and he began calculating the amount of recycling each week and reporting the results to Recyclemania.

Fronczek calculates these numbers by estimating the volume of the boxes of recycled items and then multiplies that by the number of boxes per week. The job is easier this year because the University’s waste hauler recently purchased scales to add to the garbage trucks in order to weigh the amount of waste the trucks were carrying.

Fronczek is also a member of the Sustainability Committee and on the Recycling Subcommittee. This subcommittee has organized a new project to promote involvement with Recyclemania to students on campus. This project will be a contest between Greek life residence floors to see which floor produces the most recycled materials. This contest will take place right after students return from spring break during the week of March 14-25. Representatives from each floor will bring their bags of recyclables to the student center to weigh the materials on newly-bought scales. At the end of the week the floor that produced the most recycling will win the contest. The dining hall services will advertise the contest, post the results, and donate prizes for the winning sorority or fraternity. Through this contest JCU can get a better idea of the average amount of recycling a floor can produce. According to Fronczek, the Greek life challenge will help figure out how actively involved the students can become in Recyclemania. He commented that the “results will be used to determine the level of interest among the student community to participate in a more widespread or competitive manner.”

Residence Life is also involved in the Greek life challenge, along with having distributed the blue recycling bins into all the dorm rooms in order to promote students to recycle. In addition to the recycling bins, Residence Life has put up posters explaining what materials can be recycled and what bins and bags to put the materials into. They also work with facilities and housekeeping to identify areas where there are problems.

There are no other challenges or programs set up so far beyond Greek Life but John Mack, the assistant director of Residence Life, commented that Residence Life would continue to promote recycling through “ongoing education that will address all problem areas.”

In addition to promoting the Greek life recycling challenge, JCU Dining has contributed to Recyclemania on their own. One of the categories of recyclables in Recyclemania is food waste, and, every week, Schott Dining Hall collects their leftover food and sends it to a compost site. Tyson Dubay, the director of JCU Dining, keeps track of these numbers and reports them to Fronczek so he can add them to the total amount of recyclables.

Dubay commented that the other role JCU Dining plays is in advertising for Recyclemania events, “It’s all about raising awareness of recycling.”

John Carroll is participating in the Benchmark Division of Recyclemania this year. This division is less competitive and will give JCU a chance to raise student awareness and get more people involved in recycling. After that is done, the school plans on having more events and to join the competitive division next year.