This week, I saw a press release from the University of Tennessee that made me think about ways to get more people involved in recycling. This release detailed the events of RecycleMania. Campuses all across the U.S. and Canada participate in this annual competition to see which college can recycle the most, but the University of Tennessee Knoxville has put a special spin on the event. 

To really get the campus involved, the university has challenged the University of Florida challenge one another to see which school recycles the most. For an entire month, the college has held various campaigns to gather waste paper, metal and plastic. Among the festivities have been recycling competitions between dormitories and paper purge parties for faculty.

RecycleMania is not only fun, but it also produces results. Last year, the University of Tennessee Knoxville alone recycled 5 pounds of plastic, 2-1/2 pounds of cardboard, 1/2-pound of food scraps and 1-1/4-pounds of aluminum cans and plastic bottles in just one month.

After reading the story, I started thinking about how companies, schools and social groups could hold similar events to encourage eco-consciousness. School districts could challenge one another or pit grade against grade within one school. Two companies in the same office park or office building could compete or have departments try to come out on top over the others in one organization. Church youth groups, Boy and Girl Scout troupes and other types of organizations could also issue challenges.

Making recycling into a game or competition builds awareness and can help kids, teens and adults think more about what they throw away. Have you ever participated in a recycling competition? If so, tell us about it in the comments section. 


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