Recycle Mania 2018 begins on February 5th. This eight week friendly recycling competition, held between colleges across the United States, challenges students, faculty and staff to improve their recycling habits. This year, we would like to improve our 2017 standing where we placed 39th out of the 190 competing colleges.

Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash. The recycled materials are often turned into new products that can be used by consumers.

Bringing awareness of what happens to garbage that is thrown away is one goal contained throughout this event. According to the EPA approximately 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but we only recycle about 30% of it, and we generate 21.5 million tons of food waste each year.

Recycling reduces the amount of waste that is sent to landfills and conserves our natural resources by decreasing the need to collect new raw materials. Greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change are decreased and the environment is sustained for future generations.

In addition, recycling is good for the economy by creating new well-paying jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries. According to recent data, recycling and reuse activities in the United States accounted for 757,000 jobs and produced $36 billion in wages in a single year.

At the Keshena and Green Bay campus locations there are blue recycle bins throughout the buildings making it easy to identify where to place the recyclable materials. The materials can be co-mingled meaning that all of the recyclable materials can be placed in any of the blue recycle bins. Mixed recycling service allows us to collect paper, cardboard, glass and plastic bottles, and metal cans together. There is no need to separate materials.

Once the materials are collected by our maintenance team, the bags are weighed and recorded on the Recycle Mania web site. This year we will be monitoring the amounts of both waste and recyclable materials generated on campus.