If you’ve been to the Wheelock College campus or website recently, you may have noticed promotions for Recyclemania. What is Recyclemania? A nonprofit organization founded by two recycling coordinators in January 2001, Recyclemania sponsors a benchmark competition between colleges and universities around the US to see who can recycle the most.
Why is Wheelock participating in this competition? We are a small school, but we believe we can make a big impact. We have such a passion when it comes to the community and those around us that it is logical to extend this passion to the environment.
Wheelock has already increased its recycling efforts by 49.5% in the last 3 years. This happened with help from everyone on campus and without a competition— just think what the College will be able to do with a little friendly call to action.
Our reasoning for entering the competition is not to win—although that would be really great. Our goal is to reduce our carbon footprint, and to see our commitment to recycling and the environment reach its fullest potential. This competition will be the kickoff for an even bigger increase in our recycling efforts, and we would like to see our sustainability efforts continue to grow going forward.
Our goal is to increase our recycling numbers by 10% over the eight-week period of the Recyclemania competition, which runs through April 5, 2013.
Below are a few things you might not know about recycling.
1. While there is no way to get an exact figure, it is estimated that 77% of people in the United States recycle (Maeve Rich).
2. Every year nearly 900,000,000 trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills.
3. Every year we generate around 14 million tons of food waste, which is 106 pounds of food waste per person.
4. Americans throw away about 28 billion bottles and jars every year.
5. Americans make more than 200 million tons of garbage each year, enough to fill Bush Stadium from top to bottom twice a day!
6. Each year Americans throw away 25,000,000,000 Styrofoam cups. Even 500 years from now, the foam coffee cup you used this morning will be sitting in a landfill.
So why recycle? Recycling helps maintain the environment we live in now, and the one future generations will live in. It might not seem important right now, but if we keep using all of the resources available to us at the current rate without replenishing them, someday they will be depleted.
It’s not only resources we have to worry about, but we also have to think about the carbon footprint created by our actions. Global warming and ozone depletion are two large threats the world is facing that can be slowed with just a little effort. A few examples: it takes less energy to remake a can or bottle than to make one from scratch; recycling paper saves trees from being cut down to make new paper. Trees not only provide paper, but they provide oxygen, shade and shelter for hundreds of animals.
You can begin to see a common theme; it is a domino effect, everything we do affects the future of someone or something. So step up! Not just for the competition of Recyclemania, but for maintaining the world in which you live. Take that extra step to put your can in the recycling bin instead of the trash. If there isn’t a bin in site, take a walk and try to find one or, if it’s something you can fit in your bag, bring it home to recycle. Bring your reusable mug when you head to Longfellow café, grab your water bottle and fill it up at a fountain!
Every bit helps, no matter how small, and if we work together we can be an integral part in bettering our lives and the lives of others. Live our mission and “improve the lives of children and families” by recycling!
Check out our Sustainability website for any questions you might have about recycling at Wheelock www.wheelock.edu/sustainability .