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Recyclemania Promotes On-Campus Recycling

National competition reminds community of recycling resources

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University is in the midst of a recycling competition that urges students, faculty and staff to look at their waste and question whether they can reduce and recycle what they throw away.

The 2014 Recyclemania tournament is a two-month-long national competition to see which colleges and universities can reduce, reuse and recycle the most on-campus waste. Northwestern is one of hundreds of schools enrolled in the competition taking place through March 29.

Schools compete in 11 categories to determine which recycles the most on a per capita basis; which produces the least amount of waste; and which recycles the largest percentage of their overall waste stream. A complete list of participating schools can be found at

Julie Cahillane, manager of sustainability and resource management at Northwestern, said the goal of the competition is to encourage schools to promote recycling and waste reduction on campus year round.

“We want the Northwestern community to look at their recycling habits,” Cahillane said. “Ask yourself are you recycling everything that you can? Does your room, office, classroom need a recycling bin?”

Updated rankings published online each Friday at allow schools to track their progress and rally to improve their standings against rival colleges and universities. Winners and rankings will be announced at the end of the competition. 

Northwestern currently recycles more than 30 percent of its 1,500 tons of trash each year. The addition of food waste compost collections in all of the on-campus dining facilities has helped boost numbers. The Office of Sustainability hopes to get this number to 50 percent.

“Our recycling efforts impact not just our campus but the broader community by keeping resources out of our landfill and in production to make new products,” Cahillane said.

The Northwestern community is encouraged to take advantage of the blue recycling bins located across the Evanston and Chicago campuses. Bins can be found in academic, administrative and residential buildings as well as outdoors on campus grounds.

Items that can be recycled include brochures and flyers, white and colored paper, envelopes in all colors, glossy magazines and catalogs, telephone books, junk mail, manila file folders, newspapers (including inserts), corrugated cardboard, paper ream wrappers, aluminum and steel cans, glass bottles and jars, and plastic containers numbers one through five. 

The Associated Student Government (ASG) Sustainability Committee recently launched a program to collect plastic bags for recycling. Bags can be dropped off at the Norris University Center, ground floor. 

To see what else can be recycled and for more information on Northwestern's recycling efforts, visit the Office of Sustainability

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