By Danielle Mohlman
For the next 10 weeks, Cal Poly will be competing against
colleges and universities across the nation in RecycleMania, an
event sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency that
challenges students to recycle between Jan. 27 and April 5.
RecycleMania is a competition among campus recycling programs.
The program’s goal is to increase student awareness of campus
recycling and waste minimization.
There are currently 400 colleges and universities participating
in the competition. Schools must keep track of their own solid
waste and recyclables, either by actual weight in pounds or using a
volume-to-weight conversion factor available online.
Collection weeks are Sunday through Saturday, and measurements
must be reported by 12 p.m. Wednesday. Materials brought in from
off campus cannot be included.
Campuses will compete to determine which one can recycle the
most. RecycleMania provides trophies and other awards for the
largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of
total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, and the
highest recycling rate.
This is Cal Poly’s second year in the competition. The
university has not won a RecycleMania award, but plans to increase
its standing each year.
“Our goals are to raise awareness about recycling and increase
the amount of materials diverted from landfills,” said Monika
Kamboures, coordinator of Recycling Services.
Recycling Services works with the campus community to redevelop
and implement new ways to improve a waste and recycling
“We are continuing to work with our vendors to reduce waste and
purchase recycled-content products,” Kamboures said.
As a result of Assembly Bill 75, the California State University
system and other state agencies are mandated to decrease the amount
of waste they send to landfills by at least 50 percent.
“The campus is somewhat like a small city,” Kamoures said. “By
recycling, we as a university help to have a positive impact on the
world in which we live.”
Kamboures said it is important for Cal Poly students to adopt
recycling habits while in college because these habits will remain
with them throughout their lives.
“Recycling helps to reduce the need for raw materials so that
the resources can be preserved, and recycling requires much less
energy than making products from raw materials,” Kamboures
Despite this competition, students feel that recycling on campus
is not always convenient.
“I try to recycle to a certain extent, but I don’t go to
extremes,” said Marc Montana, a first-year mechanical engineering
If there is not a recycling bin in the area, Montana just throws
the recyclable item in the trash can.
“Every place where there is a regular trash can, there should be
a blue recycling bin,” Montana said.
Emily Smolik, a second-year liberal studies student, also feels
that there are not enough recycling bins on campus.
“I recycle as much as I can,” Smolik said. “If I remember to, I
will. If there’s a recycling bin, I will. But if not, I just throw
it in the trash.”
When she found out about RecycleMania, Smolik was not sure how
“Why can’t we just recycle to benefit the environment?” Smolik
said. “I don’t see why it has to be a competition since we don’t
really have a rival school. If it was RecycleMania USC versus UCLA,
it would be different.”
Students, faculty and staff can contact Facilities Planning
& Management at 909-869-6705 for more information.
Matthew Zu/Poly Post
Campuses try to trash competition in RecycleMania
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