UT Dallas Students Take Trash to a New Level
University Finishes Annual Recycling Competition With Best-Ever Results
April 29, 2009
UT Dallas leapt into the top 10 for its best finish to date in RecycleMania, the annual college recycling contest.
The University finished in sixth place nationally for most paper recycled per capita, or 20.62 pounds per person.
“Being in the top 10 of any competition is fantastic, and being in the top 50 for the Per Capita Classic and the Gorilla Prize is awesome,” said Barrett DeCutler, president of Students for Environmental Awareness, which sponsored the University in the competition.
“The sixth-place ranking in paper shows how good our recycling is in offices and labs, but the comparatively low rankings in plastic, aluminum, and cardboard really define our goals for the future.”
For 10 weeks, from Jan. 26 through April 8, UT Dallas collected bottles, cans, cardboard and paper for the Earth-friendly contest. Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to drop off used materials in recycling bins located in buildings throughout campus.
In the Gorilla Prize competition – which represents the highest gross tonnage of all recyclables regardless of campus population – UTD ranked 42nd out of 293 nationally, recycling 334,042 pounds of materials.
In the push to recycle more, the student group Sustenants teamed up with University Village to collect recyclable materials door-to-door in the student apartments during the final weekend of RecycleMania.
The door-to-door campaign provided a significant boost.
In its previous best week, UT Dallas collected 21.5 pounds of paper and cardboard, 24 pounds of aluminum cans and 31 pounds of plastic bottles. The door-to-door collection drove that total up to 188 pounds of paper and cardboard, 98.5 pounds of aluminum cans and 155 pounds of plastic bottles.
“We’ve been trying to do a little bit better every year,” said Bron Clayton, building services supervisor at UT Dallas. “The door-to-door collection really boosted our numbers. This is something that we are definitely looking into expanding next year.”
DeCutler agreed: “Bron Clayton and his team have done a great job of keeping up with collections and procuring new bins for plastic and aluminum, but we still have a long way to go. RecycleMania gives us a great chance to re-evaluate the program each year and see where we need to be.
“It takes everyone to make it work,” he said.