The Post: Ohio University looks to top Oberlin, Miami and OSU in national recycling challenge

In just one week, Ohio University collected 65,222 pounds of traditional recyclables and roughly 18,000 pounds of compostables with the hope of winning the Mid-American Conference title in the 2015 RecycleMania contest.

This year, OU looks to recycle 800,000 pounds of traditional recyclable materials in the eight-week-long competition.

“The goals for this year is to still win the MAC in as many different categories as possible,” Andrew Ladd, OU’s refuse and recycling manager, said.

As part of 2015 RecycleMania efforts, Ladd has organized various events to promote increased recycling in the months of February and March.

An event called the Great Recovery, was held last Thursday as a visual representation of student recycling and landfill disposal from three OU dorms: Gamertsfelder, Washington and Bush.

Volunteers rummaged through 24 hours worth of recycled waste and landfill trash, weighing at the end all the waste that could have been recycled.

“The main purpose is to demonstrate to the student body and the community the difference between what was chosen to be recycled and, after we sort everything properly, what could have been recycled,” Ladd said.

RecycleMania, a national recycling competition that attracts over 450 colleges and universities from all across the United States and Canada, was originally started at OU.

The competition, which draws on collegiate rivalries to spark students’ motivation, began when Ed Newman, Ladd’s predecessor, challenged his colleague from Miami University in 2001 to a university recycling contest.

Now RecycleMania has grown into a national competition to raise student awareness about recycling efforts on college campuses.

“Last year we won seven of nine categories in the MAC,” Ladd said. “We beat Miami, which is always the goal.

He added that Oberlin College won Ohio last year, coming in just ahead of OU.

Last year, OU finished 59th in the nation for the Grand Champion Award, with a 39-percent recycling rate.

One of the ways OU will be looking to improve its recycling program is through its dorms.

About half of OU’s campus, including academic buildings, currently operates on a dual-stream recycling system.

This means that all paper products are collected together while hard recyclable products — beverage containers, aluminum cans –– get collected together.

Residential halls, on the other hand, have seven different categories for student-recycling use.

“It’s not very user-friendly and, as a result, we’re only getting a 25-percent recovery rate out of the dorms,” Ladd said.

But come next fall, Ladd hopes to implement a mixed stream system in the student dorms, which would allow all recyclable materials to be collected together, making it more convenient for students to recycle.

The stream switch could help OU to reach its 2016 goal of having a campus-recycling rate of 80 percent, Ladd said.

This story also appears on The Post

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