February 17, 2012 by Emily C. Kelley, NMSU News Center
The 2012 RecycleMania Tournament kicked off Feb. 5 at New Mexico State University with a poster and sidewalk chalking awareness campaign spearheaded by the NMSU Office of Sustainability.
The 605 schools participating this year represent all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, five Canadian provinces, along with one school in Great Britain, said Alec Cooley of RecycleMania and director of Recycling Programs for Keep America Beautiful.
NMSU officials hope that Aggies can meet, if not beat last year’s fifth-place showing and maybe even the second-place rank achieved in 2010.
joni newcomer, manager of Environmental Policy and Sustainability at NMSU, said recyclable materials collected on campus are weighed and then divided by the number of faculty, staff and students on campus — in other words, the weight is divided into pounds recycled per capita at each participating campus.
The RecycleMania effort focuses on plastic water and soda bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard and paper. During the first week of competition, NMSU collected 1,450 pounds of bottles and cans, 12,650 pounds of cardboard and 35,600 pounds of paper, said Art Lucero, manager of Custodial/Solid Waste/Recycling at NMSU.
Lucero and his crew also monitor trash picked up on campus, since waste reduction is part of the RecycleMania effort. During the first week of RecycleMania, NMSU collected 20,075 pounds of trash, which is about 4,000 pounds less than the week prior to the competition.
Recycle bins are easy to find on campus.
“They are located on every floor of every building,” Lucero said. “We have 3,500 desk-side bins in offices and they’re in most public places.”
Bins are also found near staircases, building entrances and along outdoor malls. Aggie Recycling empties the bins each day and weighs and processes collected items for transport twice monthly to El Paso, according to Lucero.
Though the campus is focused on RecycleMania now, “let us not just recycle during these two months; we must be conscious all year round,” newcomer said.
NMSU’s Aggie Recycling collects plastic #1 (PET and PETE), aluminum cans, paper, cardboard, steel, tires, asphalt, concrete and yard waste. Items can be dropped off at the Aggie Recycling Center between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday through Friday. Items also can be dropped in the many recycling bins on campus.