Residence halls participate in RecycleMania

Rebecca Chamberlin

For the second time, Iowa State has entered into RecycleMania. RecycleMania is an international competition, ranking universities in the United States and Canada on nine different recycling categories. Iowa State’s affiliation with the competition is on behalf of The GreenHouse Group, a student organization that works with the Department of Residence to encourage recycling efforts.

According to Matthew Gaul, secretary of the GreenHouse Group, RecycleMania participation was adopted as a way to “promote our recycling programs on campus.”

There are two divisions in RecycleMania: the Benchmark and the Competition divisions. Iowa State is participating in the Benchmark Division this year. This division allows universities to work at their own pace and informally compare their scores with other Benchmark universities, as well as with the Competition Division. This division also allows the universities to limit participation to only the residence halls and dining centers. Iowa State has chosen to be restricted to the residence halls.

No awards or titles can be won, but membership to the Benchmark Division provides the GreenHouse Group and Iowa State students with a reference point for what more can be done in the future. In order for Iowa State to measure up to the rigor of the Competition Division, Gaul believes that the university would have to implement a campus-wide recycling program to get staff as well as other on-campus facilities involved.

The GreenHouse Group also encourages hall or floor competitions to increase participation. Gaul explains that the overall goal of this year’s run in RecycleMania is to increase the amount of recycled materials and decrease wasted materials.

The pre-season trial began Jan. 2 to allow time for the universities to get acclimated to the amount of recycling that is needed weekly in order to rank well. The actual competition started Feb. 5 and ends Apr. 6. Recycling chairs from the various residence halls will report how many bags of each recyclable or non-recyclable material are brought out to a recycling and trash sight weekly. Materials are measured on a standardized volume-to-weight conversion for each material.

To get involved, students should recycle all recyclable materials into the proper bins in their residence halls. Students can also strive to cut down waste material. To follow Iowa State’s statistics in the competition, visit the GreenHouse Group’s Facebook page. Residence hall statistics are posted every Wednesday or Thursday. To learn more about RecycleMania and to compare Iowa State’s statistics with participating schools, visit