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March 2007

Collegiate RecycleMania competition begins with record number of participating schools

Forget NCAA basketball. The real competition on America's college campuses this spring is RecycleMania, which pits colleges and universities in a nationwide contest to see who can reduce, reuse and recycle the most campus waste.

Over a 10-week period from January 28 to April 7, 2007, participating schools will compete in various categories measuring the success of their recycling and waste prevention efforts. This year's 201 competing schools, the most in the competition's history, represent 42 states and the District of Columbia and include insti- tutions ranging from small two-year community colleges to Ivy League universities.

RecycleMania helps campus recycling coordinators rally student, faculty, and staff participation in recycling and waste prevention programs, while offering bragging rights and special awards made out of recycled materials to the winning schools. By framing recycling in competitive terms, RecycleMania taps the same intercollegiate spirit that drives sports rivalries.

The competition is divided into several categories. The two main categories are the Per Capita Classic, which measures the total amount of recyclables collected per person, and Waste Minimization, in which schools compete to see who can generate the least amount of overall solid waste per capita. From these two categories, RecycleMania awards its Grand Champion based upon who recycles the greatest overall percentage of their solid waste stream. Additional recognition is given to schools that collect the most paper, beverage containers, cardboard, and food waste for recycling, as well as the school that collects the greatest overall amount of recyclables.

Each week, the standings are posted online for all participants to see, motivating campuses to work harder as they aim not only for the top prizes, but also to beat out their own rival schools.

To help schools promote the competition on campus, RecycleMania provides professionally developed promotional materials and web and email forums for recycling coordinators to share tips and best practices.

The RecycleMania competition is organized by collegiate recycling coordinators from various universities, and is jointly administered by EPA's WasteWise program and the NRC. The competition is endorsed by NRC's College and University Recycling Council and the National Wildlife Federation's Campus Ecology program. Financial and promotional support is provided by The Coca-Cola Company.

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