USM participates in recycling competition

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The University of Southern Mississippi’s Office of Sustainability will participate in RecycleMania 2017 on the Hattiesburg campus from Feb. 5 – April 1.

According to RecycleManiacs. org, RecycleMania is an eight-week annual recycling competition that pits colleges and universities from across the United States and Canada against one another for the title of champion recycler. Their website states that the competition promotes recycling and waste minimization. Southern Miss has participated in this competition since spring 2009.

For RecycleMania, there are six specific events held throughout the course of the competition, according to The Office of Sustainability’s website. There will be some passive programming opportunities in the coming weeks with the first event, “Get Caught Green Handed,” will be held Feb. 15 – 26.

Sustainability coordinator and USM alumna Melissa Covington-Olsen said the event promotes the importance of recycling.

“RecycleMania is a good platform that allows us to generate some excitement and visibility of our recycling program,” Covington-Olsen said. “This, in turn, helps educate and promote awareness of recycling and other growing environmental concerns.”

Covington-Olsen said Southern Miss partakes in two categories: gorilla and per capita. “Last year, in the gorilla category, Southern Miss placed 157 out of 276 by recycling a total of 101,198 pounds of material in just 8 weeks,” Covington Olsen said. “Additionally, Southern Miss placed 68th out of 209, showing we recycled 1.9 pounds of waste per capita. However, with all the colleges combined, 79 million pounds of waste [were] recycled.” Mississippi Valley State University is the only other Mississippi school that participates in this competition.

“All of the recycled materials in the recycling bins are taken to a material recovery facility – FV Recycling, out in Sumrall, MS,” Covington-Olsen said. “These materials are sorted, processed, and sold to other companies.”

To participate in RecycleMania, students can recycle by using the blue recycling cans in every building on campus. These bins can collect any recycling material other than food, Styrofoam or glass. The location of the larger recycling bins is near the Physical Plant on campus.

In October 2016, The Office of Sustainability sponsored the inaugural Southern Miss Community E-Water Event. Students and faculty were asked to bring their electronic devices to be dropped off for proper disposal.

The Office of Sustainability encourages staff, faculty and students to continue to make sustainable decisions throughout the next eight weeks. For more information on RecycleMania, how to get involved and what to recycle, visit The Office of Sustainability website.