Creating recycling habits

UB participates in RecycleMania in an effort to reduce waste

On February 2, 2014

From now until March 29, UB students could find themselves rewarded for simple acts of recycling.

UB is once again participating in RecycleMania - a national competition held each spring that compares the amount of waste reduction between universities. Though there are a plethora of ways students can participate, the main concern for UB is not to win, but to further the school's green initiative.

"We never enter the competition with the goal we are in this to win it," said Erin Moscati, sustainability education manager. "Our goal is always we are in it to keep recycling on people's minds and promote what people can do every day on campus to reduce their waste footprint."

UB has been participating in the program since 2009. Last year, UB managed to accumulate a total of 318,605 pounds of recycled material, according to Moscati.

As a way to help UB keep track of progress, every Friday, the past week's results will be displayed on UB Green's Facebook and RecycleMania's page. In order to promote the eight-week period, UB Green has several ways to get students involved.

"Caught Green-Handed" catches UB students in the Student Union, every Wednesday between 12-2 p.m., who are recycling. If someone is "caught," they receive a small prize, which could be movie tickets, reusable mugs or sunglasses, among other prizes.

"The reaction is always positive," Moscati said. "It's, 'Oh, I get this? For doing what I normally do? Great!' And it gives an opportunity that we do appreciate them participating in the program."

Kathleen Da Silva, a sophomore environmental studies major, volunteered with the Office of Sustainability and worked on the Recycling Rangers program for RecycleMania.

The program is in conjunction with UB Athletics and takes places during certain home basketball games until RecycleMania ends.

It places the volunteer "rangers" near exits or large groups of bins, and when people are coming up to discard their waste, the volunteers issue a simple reminder to recycle or answer any questions. The idea is to act as mediators and to change the way the community recycles, Da Silva said.

Da Silva has been involved with Recycling Rangers for two years.

"The more people we get involved, the better our stats will be," Da Silva said. "That's the main goal, just to help increase everyone's awareness and realize that this affects all of us - it's not just our office. It's a universal thing through the campus and our community."

Students may even find their picture taken and put up on the Facebook page.

RecycleMania volunteers look for students every Tuesday and ask about recycling. If the feedback is positive, the students receive a sticker with the motto, "I Recycle, Do You?" and their picture is taken for the website.

"Mug Shots" use the same concept, but volunteers take pictures of students using reusable mugs.

Students can actively try to become more aware of their green impact by contacting their resident adviser, academic adviser or community adviser, according to Da Silva.

Da Silva recommends starting small then building on it. For her, she started with bottles and cans because it was the easiest and slowly moved on to paper, plastic and anything else recyclable.

UB owns all-in-one recycling bins that allow students to toss any recyclable material in without worrying about sorting it.

"It can't work if just our custodians do it," Moscati said. "Each one of us has to engage in the practice in order to have a successful program."

Students have the opportunity to be a part of the program by volunteering through the UB RecycleMania page.



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