RecycleMania Competition Kicks off Expanded Recycling and Composting Pilot Program

Monday, February 2 2009

Feb. 2, 2009 MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho Sustainability Center has partnered with University Housing, Campus Dining, some 1,500 undergraduate students and Moscow Recycling to bring RecycleMania to campus. RecycleMania is a nationwide contest to see which colleges and universities can reduce, reuse and recycle the most campus waste; the competition started Jan. 19 and will run through March 28. Some 500 participating schools, ranging from small, two-year community colleges to Ivy League universities, have 10 weeks to compete in various categories measuring the success of their recycling and waste prevention efforts. The UISC is facilitating a three-tiered approach for the competition: Housing is adding recycling bins in residence halls; Campus Dining is piloting a compost program; and all partners are working with a globalization class to coordinate student service-learning projects. "The University of Idaho joined RecycleMania as part of its efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions," said Darin Saul, director of the Sustainability Center. "Almost all recycling processes reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to saving landfill capacity. For example, recycling of aluminum cans saves 95 percent of the energy required to make the same amount of aluminum from virgin sources. Recycling is one of the most powerful actions a person can adopt to reduce their carbon footprint. Currently, the University of Idaho produces around 350 tons of carbon-equivalent emissions associated with its waste stream. Increasing our recycling will help reduce that amount.” In the residence halls, more than 1,500 University of Idaho students are competing in a waste-minimization effort to produce the least amount of solid waste per person. University of Idaho Housing recently received a $7,500 grant from the Sustainable Idaho Initiative to purchase recycling bins for each residence hall room. The residence halls and Sustainability Ambassadors will weigh recyclables collected for the duration of the competition to see which individual residence hall floor on campus can recycle the most paper, plastic and metal. In addition to the larger RecycleMania competition, students are competing for a coveted pizza party prize. Previous studies reveal that Bob’s Place, the cafeteria in the Wallace Residence Center, disposes some 430 pounds of post-consumer food waste each day. During the 10-week RecycleMania competition, food waste will be collected, weighed and composted at the City of Moscow’s bio-solids compost facility. Results will be reported to RecycleMania each week and posted on the Sustainability Center Web site at Service-learning projects resulting from the collaboration between the Sustainability Center and a CORE Discovery globalization course will involve a class of 82 freshmen in supporting waste minimization. Projects include a "stop junk mail" campaign, a sustainability pledge, encouraging double-sided printing preferences, standardizing the use of green PDFs, a "bring your own beverage container" campaign, and a "bring your own reusable bag" campaign. Recycling projects include an e-waste (electronic waste) collection event, Web site development and promotional activities for RecycleMania. "Beyond participation in this nationwide event, we hope to give students experience with more sustainable lifestyles," said Saul. "This isn't just something we do for a 10-week period; this has life-long implications." For more information about the university’s sustainability efforts, contact the University of Idaho Sustainability Center at or visit
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About the University of Idaho Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit Media Contact: Darin Saul, University of Idaho Sustainability Center, (208) 885-0124,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit