Tracy Mendez/Contributing Writer
Ready, get set, recycle!
To promote waste reduction, the Office of Sustainability will participate in RecycleMania, a competition held at American and Canadian universities and colleges in which schools collect and record trash and recyclables accumulated during an eight-week period starting Feb. 2.
Last spring, the University ranked 142 out of 523 colleges with 27.8 percent of recyclable trash recorded, and first place in Florida.
RecycleMania has several different ranks consisting of who recycles the most per capita, which school generates the least amount of trash and recyclables in total, and which school has the best recycling rate as percentage of total waste.
The award? A trophy made of recyclable materials. But the true award is that of spreading awareness of waste reduction and recycling, according to RecycleMania Inc.
In 2010, America generated 250 million tons of trash, 85 million of which was recycled, which is a 34 percent recycling rate according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 2013, the US was given a ‘B-’ in the ASCE American Infrastructure report card. The numbers are up, while the solid waste is going down, which is a good sign for 2014.
“I think as part of a metropolitan city, having such a beautiful campus with vegetation and species like we do, it is a privilege and we must take the measures necessary to conserve it and not take it for granted,” said freshman sociology major Maria Moren.
FIU has an extensive recycling program called ‘FIU Recycles’ which includes both single stream recycling -plastic bottles, cardboard, paper, glass bottles and jars, aluminum materials-and specialized recycling stream -ink cartridges, cell phones, pens, markers. These specific bins are conveniently located all over the campuses. FIU’s Office of University Sustainability and the FIU Facilities Management Department work together in these efforts.
“[I’m hoping to see] overall increased awareness of students and faculty at FIU of the day to day role they can play to make a difference by recycling. FIU has a great recycling program with the single stream recycling. If you were go through the traditional garbage, you would find many items that are actually recyclable. However, people didn’t take the time to or perhaps didn’t even know they could recycle what they just threw away,” said Jeremy Squires, an intern at the Office of University Sustainability. “I think the first thing you have to do is increase people’s knowledge so they are able to make informed decisions. Hopefully, the RecycleMania competition gives a platform for increasing people’s knowledge here on campus about just how easy it is to actually recycle just about anything instead of thinking they can’t recycle this or that or that it’s too much of an effort to recycle something,” continued Squires.” By putting forth recycling programs and volunteer initiative around the university, FIU hopes to reach a goal of recycling 50 percent of its waste stream by 2015.
The only way to help with the ongoing battle to win the planet back is by getting involved. Recycling is simple, it only takes an extra five seconds of your time to determine which rubbish goes in which bin (normal and recyclable bins are located right next to one another.) Participate in RecycleMania 2014, help FIU become a greener school and help do your part in reducing the amount of waste you produce.
RecycleMania is a trademarked nonprofit program that began in 2001 as a competition between Ohio University and Miami University. The program is managed by Keep America Beautiful and supported by the US Protection Agency’s Waste Wise Program and College & University Recycling Coalition.