By Thao Nguyen
Brookhaven College is participating in RecycleMania 2018, an eight-week intercollegiate recycling competition, which began across campus Feb. 4. Brookhaven’s RecycleMania team will collect recyclable materials. The competition’s goal is to help colleges and universities generate attention on waste reduction activities, according to recyclemania.org.
RecycleMania has three competition categories: Diversion, which includes recyclables, food organics and trash weights reported; the Stephen K. Gaski Per Capita Classic, which weighs the recyclables divided by campus population reported and Food Organics, which includes the food waste and any organic materials handled alongside food waste reported. Brookhaven will only participate in the Per Capita Classic category.
In an email to The Courier, Carrie Schweitzer, director of sustainability and co-chair of Brookhaven’s Green Team Coalition, said to compete more effectively this year, the Office of Sustainability and facilities services will examine Brookhaven’s recycling statistics to improve the recycling habits on campus and during the competition.
“The important part of RecycleMania is the opportunity to remind people over the spring semester to recycle right, to raise awareness about recycling and to see how we are doing this year as opposed to last year,” Schweitzer said.
“Going forward, I think the message needs to be crafted in a slightly different way, which is not how much we can recycle but how much our waste in recycling can be reduced,” Schweitzer said.
“My goal is to hold our own – keep in line with 2016 and 2017 records,” Schweitzer said. “Though we may not be recycling to the extent we were prior to that, I’m hoping our more recent records indicate that we are balancing a better knowledge of recycling with reuse, such as carrying our own water bottles or coffee mugs.”
Schweitzer also said: “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Recycle is the last [goal] we need to start reducing our waste and reusing things.” She suggested strategies to help people be eco-friendly on campus, such as stop buying and using plastic bottles. Plastic material takes about 450 years to decompose, she said.
Mini Shrestha, a student, who occasionally recycles, said she thinks it is great Brookhaven participates in RecycleMania to raise recycling awareness across campus because some international students may not be conscientious about environmental concerns. She said the event is a way to help them learn about the environment and start recycling.