By Kylie Noltemeyer–
Did you know that 60 percent of the University of Louisville’s potentially recyclable items end up in landfills? It is alright if you did not, because most students are not aware. This is where the Sustainability Council here at the University are stepping in. They have a plan to spark the interest of students and raise awareness by sponsoring the annual RecycleMania competition.
U of L will participate in this tournament against other universities across North America. Through a little friendly competition, the goal is to reduce waste, increase recycling and promote awareness. Right now, the problem seems to be that not enough people know how big of a concern the lack of recycling has become.
“This is such an important issue at U of L because, even though we try to make recycling easy for people, there’s still a great lack of awareness and attention paid to solid waste on campus,” explained Assistant to the Provost for Sustainability Initiatives, Justin Mog. “We have improved our recycling rates only slightly in recent years, but the majority of our trash is still ending up in the wrong bin and headed to the landfills.”
The University is doing their part too by offering a single-stream recycling system that allows plastic, paper, cardboard, metal and glass to all go in the same bin.
The Sustainability Council hopes to do as well if not better than last year’s competition. U of L got first in the state competition in 2013, recycling a total of 144,766 lbs. during a eight-week period. That came to be about seven lbs. per person on campus. By recycling that much we reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 335 metric tons of carbon dioxide. This would be equivalent to taking 66 cars off the road.
The competition will go through March 29. To learn more about ways you can reduce your carbon footprint, visit Louisville.edu/sustainability/operations/recycling.html. To keep up with U of L’s progress with RecycleMania, please visit Recyclemaniacs.org.
Photo by Sasha Perez/The Louisville Cardinal.