That’s just a sample of what the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, collected in this year’s RecycleMania competition, a friendly eight-week competition between universities across the country to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.
In total, the UT campus community collected 299,000 pounds of recyclable material and finished fourth in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) in the Per Capital Classic category.
UT finished first place in the food service organics division, with its collection of 0.49 pounds of food waste per capita for composting. UT also finished first place in the plastic bottles and aluminum cans division, collecting 1.25 pounds per capita, and second in the paper category with 4.67 pounds per capita.
During spring break, March 19–23, the Paper Purge Party saw UT Recycling staff and volunteers amass a combined haul of 50,720 pounds of paper—more than doubling last year’s paper tally.
Graphic Arts eclipsed the paper purge competition, contributing 21,213 pounds alone. Stokely Athletic Center rounded up 9,160 pounds of paper, and Dunford Hall placed third with 2,519 pounds.
“This is the third year we’ve done the Paper Purge Party, and it was definitely our best yet,” said Jay Price, UT’s environmental coordinator. “A big part of the total was Graphic Arts, but there were a lot of people from all over campus who cleaned out and really contributed big time.”
During the third annual Recyclympics competition on March 15, students competed in eight recycling-themed events, including a phone book shot put and plastic bottle free throw.
Individual winners were students Marsha Allen, Brenda Guilliams, Katheryne Nix, and James Dixon, who finished first through fourth, respectively.
In the team category, Gangstaz took first, with Team Reptar, Tennessee Two, and Delta Zeta 1 rounding out second through fourth.
WUTK-FM, The Rock, provided game-day promotional support and prizes for the winning Recyclympians, including Valarium concert and Regal Cinema movie tickets, a Julie Apple handbag, dinner for two at the Bijou Café, an iPad case, High Sierra backpacks, and a Red Bull merchandise prize pack.
“It was a great day to be a Recyclympian. We had a lot of fun, as always, and hope participants and spectators learned a little and enjoyed it a lot,” Price said. “We appreciate everyone who participated.”
Other notable RecycleMania events included a Residence Hall Recycling Competition—won by the Apartment Residence Hall—and a landfill and recycling tour.
“At the end of the day, this competition is about raising campus awareness of recycling. We’ve had fun, but we also hope people take home the important message of sustainability,” Price said.