Since the RecycleMania kickoff, which featured a world-record-breaking cardboard castle in Brigham Square, BYU has recycled nearly a quarter million pounds and needs students to recycle now more than ever.
BYU Recycling is surpassing rival colleges like the University of Utah in the RecycleMania competition that ends on March 31. This eight-week, nationwide program involves more than 600 universities pitting their commitment to recycling against one another. This year, BYU Recycling partnered with other student clubs like EcoResponse to increase student involvement in campus recycling.
The recycling program at BYU has more than 5,000 recycling bins on campus to encourage students to recycle raw materials, said Bill Rudy, recycling coordinator at BYU Recycling. Rudy said RecycleMania is an extension of their program by spicing up recycling habits while decreasing waste that harms the environment.
“We’ve made recycling a contest and used the natural competitiveness that exists between campuses to motivate people to recycle more,” Rudy said. “The castle was BYU’s attempt to make it fun and engaging to show people that recycling can be interesting.”
Justin Hyatt, a senior from Provo and vice president of EcoResponse, helped build the cardboard castle and said they had an excellent student turnout. Hyatt said students were eager to get involved but he believes lack of awareness has caused the student body to fall short; their recycling habits are far from exceptional.
“Our campus recycling program is so good with bins in every building next to the newspaper stands and vending machines,” Hyatt said. “The program is there. Now it’s up to the students to step it up; we still have a lot of room for improvement.”
MacKenzie Mayo, a senior from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., majoring in chemistry, is a member of EcoResponse. Building the castle was the first time the club had actively helped with RecycleMania that aligns with the goals of EcoResponse. Mayo said her family has always recycled and everyone has a responsibility to be aware of the environment around us.
“Our purpose at EcoResponse is to educate the club members and the BYU community about environmental issues and to promote sustainability with environmentally friendly living,” Mayo said.
By raising awareness about the need to recycle, BYU can increase its standing in the competition while helping the environment, Rudy said. Students are encouraged to engage in the competition, invite friends to do the same and continue their recycling habits after RecycleMania ends on Saturday.
“Recycling is a social thing,” Rudy said. “People who do it encourage others to do it, too. Those people make it a habit and it accelerates the process. People generally don’t litter because they know no one else does. We want people to know others who recycle and encourage them to do the same.”