January 30, 2014
Beginning Sunday, Feb. 2, Hamilton will once again participate in the annual eight-week recycling competition, “Recyclemania.” Recyclemania is a nationwide program aimed at reducing waste on campuses of all sizes. Last year, over 500 schools competed to recycle and compost almost 100 million pounds of waste.
Hamilton’s goal for this year is simple: increase the amount of recyclables that students actually recycle. Right now, less than a third of recyclable materials disposed on campus are recycled, and much of that third is organic matter composted in dining halls. Therefore, most of our paper and plastic ends up in a landfill.
In order to make Hamilton’s recycling more efficient, students and faculty alike should be mindful of what they do with their waste. There are several easy ways to improve personal recycling efforts and help Hamilton perform well against other schools in Recyclemania. The first is to recycle paper cups from Commons and McEwen. People can also recycle paper and print double-sided whenever possible. Thirdly, people can make a conscious effort to reduce the number of paper towels used in bathrooms. It is also important to to recycle in residence halls, in addition to dining halls and academic buildings. People can take initiative on their floors by reminding others to use recycling bins. Finally, people are reminded to recycle food containers and wrappers even if there is still food on them. It doesn’t matter how dirty recycling is. The recycling will later get sorted out at the recycling plant.
That is why this year, Recyclemania’s motto is: “When in Doubt, Recycle it Out!” It is better to throw a piece of trash in the recycling bin than a piece of recycling in the trash bin. For more information on how to improve Hamilton’s recycling process or on new recycling initiatives, keep an eye out for emails, signs and posters from the Recycling Task Force.
Recyclemania is both easy and fun to get involved in! During Week One, a table will be set up in Beinecke Village, where students can sign the recycling pledge. Following that, if a Recycling Task Force or Hamilton’s Environmental Awareness Group (HEAG) member spots someone recycling, he or she will award that person with candy. Throughout the competition, there will be prizes for the dormitories that recycle the most, as well as many other great recycling events. Recyclemania will culminate before spring break in Hamilton’s annual Trashion Show, where participants will make beautiful clothing out of recyclable materials.