Students trash old habits in honor of Recyclemania

It has begun. Recyclemania is underway, and so far, it has been a huge success.

For those of you who do not know, Recyclemania is a nationwide competition happening until March 29.  Already, Guilford is in 11th place out of 202 schools according to Recyclemania’s website.

“It’s eight weeks long and promotes recycling and reducing trash waste,” said first-year sustainability committee member Davia Young. “We’re being compared to other colleges across the country.  Each week, we’re doing an event to promote Recyclemania.”

Students kicked off the competition with the Hazmat event.

“The Hazmat event was a huge spectacle on Feb. 6,” said sustainability committee chair and sophomore Lily Collins. “It (was) just a bunch of people in Hazmat suits with a pile of trash and a pile of recycling.”

First-year and Office of Sustainability work-study student Jocelyn Foshay played a role in this event as well, sorting through trash and recycled material.

“It was disgusting, but it was really interesting,” said Foshay. “I learned a lot.  The amount of trash that we generate is amazing. There was so much in the trash that could be recycled, and in the recycling, there were a few things that should have been trash.”

The next event was a  viewing of the documentary “Tapped,” exploring how plastic water bottles affect the environment and our own health.

“We showed the movie ‘Tapped,’ and we issued a water bottle challenge,” said Young.  “We had a bunch of … metal and plastic water bottles.  We had people sign a contract and promise to use just that water bottle and not a one-use water bottle.  If they committed to that, they got to keep the water bottle.”

If you missed these events, do not worry. There are still plenty more to come.

“There’s a documentary that we’re going to show in the community room on March 12, at 7 p.m. called ‘Garbage Dreams,’” said Sustainability Coordinator Bronwyn Corry.  “We’re going to provide popcorn and soda for everyone coming.

“Our finale is Nancy Hoffman, who’s going to come and speak in the West Gallery in Founders.  She’s been pretty instrumental in the changes that have been made in Greensboro. Because of her, we can recycle almost everything now.”

Additionally, Recyclemania plans to reward students for recycling throughout the competition.  At The Grill, students get free refills for bringing reusable mugs. Students will also be rewarded for being “caught green- handed.”

“If students are recycling or using a reusable coffee mug, whatever it might be, we’re going to have buttons made to hand out to them,” said Corry.  “We’re trying to notice when people are doing the right thing.”

Even beyond Recyclemania, the Sustainability Committee hopes to hold students to the green commitments they have made.

“There is the typical ‘honeymoon’ effect associated with this event,” said Director of Environmental Sustainability David Petree in an email interview.  “Once over, folks revert back to old habits, both good and bad.  This year can be better if we all learn to make reducing, reusing and recycling our everyday habit of choice.”

As far as getting involved, anyone can take part.

“(Come) to sustainability committee Wednesdays at eight,” said first-year sustainability committee member Jade Glore. “You can also come to the sustainability office in the facilities building and talk to Bronwyn Corry, David Petree or Lily Collins.”

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