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UWRF competes in recycling contest

February 13, 2009

In an effort to increase the amount of recycling on campus, UW-River Falls is participating in Recyclemania, a 10-week competition involving schools from across the nation to see who can recycle the most. This is the third consecutive year the campus has been involved with this event. McMillan Hall Resident Assistant Becky Alexander is coordinating the effort to push recycling. She has also worked closely with the Earth Consciousness Organization Club to help spread the word.

“Through the ECO Club, we’ve been able to hand out promotional material and try and gain publicity,” Alexander said. “I’ve also been working closely with the recycling representatives and other resident assistants to develop and design programs that would increase the amount we, as a campus, recycle.”

Junior Tony Hart said he did not know that the campus was participating in a competition, but is glad that the campus is improving its recycling efforts.

“I’m happy to see UWRF participate in such a competition, the environment is important, and we need to do everything we can to save it,” he said.

Schools can participate in many different categories, but UWRF has only agreed to participate in one — the per capita classic. This tracks the amount of recycling done by the whole University. The results are collected weekly throughout the competition.

Manny Kenney, the recycling coordinator on campus, said the reason for participating in one category was that the school is still new at tracking recycling.

“There are two reasons why we participate in one category. One reason is that we have single sort recycling, and the other is the fact that we don’t have a long history of tracking our recycling, it’s still fairly new to us,” he said. Overall there has been progress made toward recycling. Last spring was the first semester for every residence hall room to have blue recycling bins. New this year are trash cans with a blue cover and the recycling logo in front. They are similar to the stone trash units around campus except for the recycling logo and the blue cover that is open on all sides.

“We were able to find room in our budget for us to purchase those units and they have been well received,” Kenney said. The four bins are scattered around campus — one behind the University Center, one near the clock tower in the center of campus, one on the corner of Cascade Avenue and Fourth Street, and one located at the corner of Cascade and Sixth. The hope is to get more as early as next year.

“We have four now. By the start of next year, we’d like to see eight on campus,” Kenney said.

Kenney also said, the four trash cans have been strategically placed based in high traffic areas. With only four units, not all areas could be hit.

“There should be one on the west side of campus near the residence halls and Karges, since a lot of students live and have class over in that area,” Hart said.

Another step that may be taken would be to get recycling bins in the hallways of academic buildings.
“In the hallways is good, but I’d prefer to see recycling bins by the exits inside, or just outside academic buildings,” Hart said.

Even with the progress, Kenney said that there is always something to improve.

“Recycling is a continuous program that is never completed,” he said. “We are always trying to educate and encourage students to help save the planet and recycle more.”