Recycle Mania inspires action

By Juliann Guiffre, Features Co-Editor

Imagine sometime in the near future you carry your garbage to the trash cans and throw the recyclable material in the cans with white bags. All of a sudden someone descends upon you with a raffle ticket and packet of hot chocolate mix.

This is just one aspect of the nationwide competition McDaniel College is participating in for the first time called Recycle Mania. This will take place over a ten-week period (February 3 through April 5), and 400 colleges and universities will compete.

Each week the amount of recyclables per capita, the amount of total recyclables, the amount of trash per capita, and the amount of total trash will be measured.

Esther Iglich, head of the Green Terra Committee, encourages everyone to help out with the competition. She says the main component is making sure you put all recyclable materials in the white bags not black.

Green Terra was formed last fall as a part of a bigger effort for campus environmental improvement.

“We have a year to make a plan for the campus to be carbon neutral, and we intend to incorporate energy efficient appliances in the future,” said Iglich.

Along with the Green Terra Committee, the Environmental Action Committee (EAC) and students from the Environmental Protection Studies major are helping out with the project.

Senior Connor Rasmussen with the EAC said “that the best way for students and faculty to help and contribute is to be dedicated to recycling all glass, plastic, metal and paper that can be recycled…In using white bags for recycling, the system, the chain, will be unbroken.”

Items that can be put in these white bags include all paper, bubble wrap, shrink wrap, cardboard, aluminum cans and foil, steel cans and scrap metal, glass bottles and jars and all plastics.

Around 18 student volunteers will not only make posters and help set up events for Recycle Mania but will also “catch students in the act” and reward them with a raffle ticket and a packet of hot chocolate with the words “Thank you for Caring” on the back. The administration is sponsoring prizes for the raffle.

Rasmussen hopes that this contest will help in “debunking some campus myths about the college not recycling—because it does.”

Iglich wishes to stress that this is not about the competition; it’s about raising campus awareness.

“This is our first year and other schools like Stanford have been doing it for years,” she said. “We have a lot of catching up to do.”

Junior Zach Hetrick, an environmental major, agrees and thinks the important part of this competition is to “promote recycling and help motivate students to do their part to not only protect our most valuable resource but make McDaniel a more environmental and student friendly place.”

Hetrick found getting involved with the Green Terra Committee a good opportunity to apply what he learned in the classroom and really make a difference.

Dr. Kelly Halimeda Kilbourne, professor of environmental policy and science, is excited about the college’s entrance into this competition.

“I was surprised at how little was recycled on this campus when I first arrived, and I am sure that the Recycle Mania competition will go a long way towards changing that,” said Kilbourne.

Recycling on campus will help to lower the use of toxic chemicals, curb global warming, stem the flow of water pollution, reduce the need for landfills, save trees and protect wildlife habitat and biodiversity.