The eight-week competition will rank the university against schools in the United States and Canada based on its recycling efforts.
For the fourth year in a row, Texas Tech University will participate in Recyclemania, an eight-week tournament that ranks colleges and universities based on their recycling efforts.
The competition, which begins Monday, is an opportunity to promote recycling and to bring awareness to sustainability efforts on campus, said Melanie Tatum, unit assistant director in Sustainability and Warehouse Operations. Last year, Texas Tech finished 248 out of 311 universities with a rate of 4.814 pounds of recyclables per person on campus, numbers she hopes will improve this year.
“We beat the University of Texas in 2014,” Tatum said. “For us, where we live, recycling is not a way of life. So for us to beat them, that's a pretty big accomplishment.”
Hundreds of schools across the United States and Canada will participate this year, including several in the Big 12 Conference, and will be ranked in various categories including per capita and waste minimization. There also are special categories for specific recyclables and on March 26, an electronics drive will be held to collect items from the Texas Tech and Lubbock communities.
Items that can be recycled include everything from paper, plastic and glass, to certain metals, textiles and foam. The items will be collected from bins in the residences halls and the academic buildings, including the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
The recycling center will host a table near the Student Union Building several times during the competition that will include a giveaway each time. The first event will take place on Feb. 9 – 10, Tatum said, and information on upcoming events can be found on their website.
A recycling station located behind Housing Services on Main Street between Flint Avenue and Hartford Avenue is available for off-campus students and other members of the community to drop off recyclables. Items should be clean, rinsed and bagged before placing in the bins.
“They don't have to sort it,” Tatum said. “We just ask that paper be bagged separate from the other items so it doesn't get contaminated.”
Tatum said Recyclemania is just one of the many efforts at Texas Tech to increase sustainability and recycling. Being named as a winner in any of the categories would give the campus national recognition and allow for more initiatives on campus.
“It is important for the students, in fact the entire campus, to practice recycling,” Tatum said. “The more we can keep out of the landfills, the better it is for our environment.”
The environment won't be the only thing benefitting from recycling, she added.
“Recycling also saves the university money by not paying to throw recyclables away,” Tatum said. “University Student Housing sells all of the recyclables and all the money we make from selling the recyclables goes back into the Sustainability Scholarships.”
Over the past three years, $55,000 has been awarded in these scholarships, with $30,000 being awarded just last year.
“The more we can collect, the more money we make, which means the more scholarships we can give out,” Tatum said.
For more information about sustainability and recycling efforts on campus, visit their website.