The University of Richmond will compete in three categories of a recycling competition this spring in order to improve sustainability efforts. 

UR is in its second year of participating in RecycleMania, a nationwide competition between colleges and universities to promote activities to reduce waste across their campuses. UR is in pursuit of a long-term goal of 75 percent waste diversion for the university by 2025, which is laid out on the Office of Sustainability website.

The competition began Feb. 4 and will run through March 31. The campus with the highest recycling rate over the eight-week period will win a trophy made out of recycled materials, and national recognition on the RecycleMania website and national press release, according to the RecycleMania website.

According to the Office of Sustainability website, UR is competing in three of the competition’s categories: the Per Capita Classic, which tracks the most recycling per capita; the GameDay Basketball Challenge, which tracks the most recycling and least waste in a single home basketball game; and E-Cycle Mania, which tracks the amount of old electronics recycled.

The sustainability office tracks campus recycling rates during the regular year by number of “tips,” or amount of times each dumpster is emptied, said Rob Andrejewski, the director of sustainability at UR. 

During RecycleMania, drivers from the waste management department give the sustainability office a “fullness log” for each day, providing estimates of how full the recycling and trash bins are, Andrejewski said.

Some of the RecycleMania events at UR this year include a recycled craft event on Feb. 15 where students are invited to make no-sew bags out of old t-shirts, a zero-waste basketball game on Feb. 24, a spring break clothing swap and donation on March 7 and an E-Waste collection event on March 21.

Last year, the zero-waste basketball game and E-Waste event were the most attended, Andrejewski said. In fact, the zero-waste basketball game was such a success last year that the sustainability office followed it with a zero-waste football game this past fall.

This year, volunteers at the basketball game can wear green spider tattoos and face paint, and attendees who dispose of their waste properly will get “I composted” or “I recycled” stickers, mimicking “I voted” stickers on election day. 

Andrejewski said that he hoped the tattoos and stickers would help volunteers have more fun and would serve as a recognizable reminder for others to recycle.

“We’ve heard from athletics that the fans like this and it’s not annoying to them," Andrejewski said. "That’s a fear of mine, but apparently they think it’s great that we’re doing this as a school.”

The E-Waste collection will invite faculty, staff and students to drop off old electronics, which will be given to an E-recycler. 

Paige Dunlap, a senior intern at the sustainability office, said the collection had been extremely successful last year.

“The library sent us, like, a truckload of old computers," Dunlap said. "Like we filled up the truck and had to go get a new truck."

RecycleMania is being used as a rallying point for the sustainability office’s larger spring initiative, Rethink Waste, Andrejewski said. This program is responsible for new trash rooms with neon green doors in some UR residence halls. The office is rolling out new trash receptacles with conjoined landfill and recycling bins providing signs that indicate what trash goes where.

“We have new signage,” sophomore sustainability intern Emily Routman said. “We’re doing a whole education campaign on what can be recycled, what can’t, and we’re trying to get more visibility about that.” 

Contact contributor and copy editor Sara Schuham at sara.schuham@richmond.edu.