For this year’s recycling competition, Dylan Curtis dressed up in a paper costume to catch people “green-handed.”
Stark State College is in the middle of a race to green.
After two weeks of preseason and three weeks of competition, the college is in 15th place in the Grand Champion category of the RecycleMania Tournament.
In addition to Stark State, more than 600 schools representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and four Canadian provinces are competing in nine categories to see who recycles the most on a per capita basis, who produces the least amount of waste and who recycles the largest percentage of their overall waste stream. The competition runs through March 29.
The school finished 10th in the competition last year. They created a 500-bag display, which represented the amount of bags the average person uses per year.
For this year’s competition, Dylan Curtis dressed up in a paper costume to catch people “green-handed.” If he found someone recycling or reusing, he would hand them a certificate and a small prize.
But for Stark State, RecycleMania is about more than awards. The tournament is a great benchmarking tool, said Stefanie Smith, the college’s sustainability coordinator.
“It’s an excuse to collect and analyze the data,” Smith said.
So far, Stark State College has minimized waste on campus by 36.5% while still maintaining a high rate of recycling, over 63%, according to Smith.
“That’s incredible,” she said. “That’s a huge amount of materials the college is keeping out of the landfills.”
Last year’s ranking of 10th place gave them enough credibility to apply for recycling grants.
“The numbers that I’m getting now I’m really really happy with,” she said.
The competition is a good reason for the school’s administration to get involved and for students to put some of their competitive spirit to good use, according to Smith.
“There is a little bit of peer pressure going on,” she said. “We try to get students involved in as many ways as possible. We want to holistically attack it, and the reception has been really positive.”