By Molly Gilmore
Humboldt State is participating in a 2-month-long waste diversion competition against hundreds of other eco-conscious schools across the US and Canada. The goal of the competition is to see who can not only reduce the most waste going to the landfill, but also to educate and call attention to the waste habits of students and faculty everywhere.
With HSU’s efforts being organized by the Waste-Reduction & Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP), Recyclemania is not necessarily about achieving first place. It is more important to use this opportunity to make a true, lasting difference for our campus. The competition’s platform has the potential to increase awareness of our waste habits and how these detrimental habits can be improved by through recycling, composting and reuse.
Shohei Morita, Education Director for WRRAP, sees potential in the contest.
“Recyclemania helps encourage the HSU community to work together to be active participants in practicing zero waste principles,” Morita said.
An important reason for HSU’s participation in Recyclemania is that one of California State University’s sustainability policies calls for all campuses to have a minimum waste diversion rate of 80 percent by 2020.
For HSU, recycling and composting seem like no-brainers and have become so normalized on campus that it may seem like this competition won’t make much of a dent. HSU Sustainability & Waste Coordinator Morgan Hill has seen a lot of change since the last Recyclemania event in 2013.
“Over the past few years we’ve seen a continuous decline in the amount of trash generated on campus. This is due in part to changing perceptions and behaviors. More people are concerned about the environmental, economic and social impacts of landfills and waste disposal, and they are doing what they can to reduce waste in their own lives. I credit groups like WRRAP for leading the charge and for running campaigns like Recyclemania, to not just generate awareness but to spur action,” Hill said.
The overall goal of Recyclemania is to make recycling, composting, reuse and zero waste practices accessible and normalized for everyone. HSU is rolling into our fourth week of the eight-week competition and is in 19th place with a 58.34 percent waste diversion rate. This rate needs to be at a minimum of 80 percent by 2020; let’s think green and get HSU there together.