UW-Platteville places first in Wisconsin for Recyclemania
PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville won the eight-week Recyclemania competition for the second year in a row, by placing first in Wisconsin. Recyclemania is a eight week long competition that was created as a tool for university recycling programs to promote waste reduction and recycling on campus. Recyclemania often includes inter-university competitions, revamping of current recycling programs and educational tools given to students to encourage recycling and green practices.
Amy Seeboth, UW-Platteville’s sustainability coordinator, has implemented new ways to make sure students, faculty and staff are recycling properly. Seeboth created stickers that were placed on various trash cans and recycling bins indicating what is recyclable and reminding everyone of what they throw away is shipped to a landfill. The new single-stream recycling system has taken a bit of time to get used to, but is proving successful. Recycling rules have changed over the years and the debatable pizza boxes, with minimal food in the box, and soda caps are now able to be recycled. “We are also working on getting blue bins for all recycling to go into. We want everyone to recognize the blue bins and know they can throw their recyclables in there,” said Seeboth.
Dining Services teamed up with Recyclemania to help reduce food waste on campus. Dining Services conducted food waste audits with and without tray service at Platters. The results were staggering; consumers on average threw away 38,043 pounds of food per semester with tray service compared to 24,313 pounds without trays. Trayless dining will divert 37,460 pounds of food waste from landfills per year for a cost savings of $74,920 annually. Additional savings in tipping charges, less energy and water to wash the trays may potentially add up to savings of $100,000 per year. All savings will go directly back to the students by way of expanded food offerings, increased hours of operations and cost per meals.
Seeboth has many goals for Recyclemania next year, in addition to goals for campus sustainability year-round. “ I would like to work on creating a food composting program on campus,” said Seeboth. “There are other schools who are successful with these and they would help reduce waste going to our landfills.”
Some things Seeboth hopes to change for next year’s Recyclemania include more events throughout the two months to promote recycling and teach ways to waste fewer resources and less food. “I would also like to work closer with the Department of Residence Life and be able to implement more recycling habits for new and continuing students who live on campus,” she said.
This year, Seeboth worked with a Quality Management class in the business department to see how the new recycling bins have impacted students, staff and faculty recycling behaviors. For the residence hall competition, Seeboth went out twice a week and counted all recycling materials. This was measured by volume of materials and converted into weight. Melcher Hall had 22 lbs. of recycling per person and won a pizza party for their recycling efforts.
“I feel that the culture of Platteville has a strong, consistant view on taking care of our planet. Recycling improvements and ways to make our campus more earth-friendly matches that ethic we hold,” said Seeboth. “It is also great to work with Faherty Incorporated. They have been very willing to work with campus by collecting recycling and promoting Recyclemania within the community.”
Contact: Amy Seeboth, UW-Platteville sustainability coordinator, (608) 342-7244, firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Sarah Kessler, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, email@example.com