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January 23, 2014

RecycleMania runs Feb. 2-March 29

The Pittsburgh campus has raised its goal for the upcoming RecycleMania competition to 16 pounds per person, up from a goal of collecting 12.5 pounds of recyclables per person in the 2013 competition.

This year’s eight-week competition begins Feb. 2 and runs through March 29. Final results will be announced April 11.

The annual recycling tournament pits colleges and universities in the United States and Canada in competition to promote recycling and waste reduction on campus. Last year, 523 institutions recycled and composted 90.8 million pounds of materials during the eight-week competition.

At Pitt, the competition is organized by student environmental group Free the Planet in conjunction with Facilities Management and Housing. In the 2013 competition, the Pittsburgh campus recycled 812,280 pounds of materials, or 19.72 pounds per person, placing it No. 8 in the total amount recycled.

Laura Zullo, senior manager for energy initiatives in Facilities Management, said this year’s 16-pound goal is one-half pound more than the University’s internally calculated 2013 per-capita results, which were lower than the figures published by RecycleMania. She could not immediately explain why the totals differ.

In addition to promotional events planned throughout the spring term, Free the Planet has organized several events set for the initial week of the competition. The most visible one will be a waste audit on the Schenley Quadrangle on Feb. 5. Audit  volunteers will examine samples of campus garbage to determine how much recyclable material was tossed out with the trash.

Although a date had not been selected as of the University Times press time on Wednesday, Pitt plans to compete for the first time in RecycleMania’s Game Day: Basketball Challenge, Zullo said. The basketball competition, introduced in 2013, challenges schools to report their recycling and waste minimization efforts for areas directly associated with a single home basketball game. Schools compete in four categories: waste generation; diversion rate; per capita recycling, and food organics recovery.

As in past years, staff can contribute to the recycling totals by clearing out paper and other recyclables during spring break. For extra recycling bins, contact Will Mitchell at 4-9559 or

The campus also will participate in the e-CycleMania electronics recycling collection for computers, printers, consumer electronics and other e-waste.

Additional information on recycling at Pitt and on the campus’s RecycleMania efforts can be found by clicking on “recycling” at To track progress in the competition, visit

Program management for RecycleMania comes from Keep America Beautiful.

Program support is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise program and the College & University Recycling Coalition. Corporate sponsors are Coca Cola, SCA Tissue, Alcoa and the American Forest & Paper Association.


—Kimberly K. Barlow