UMD Competes in International Competition Measuring Recycling Success
Illustrations by Valerie Morgan
Think you know which way to throw when standing in front of the recycling, composting and landfill bins on campus? Now’s your chance to prove it on an international stage as the University of Maryland participates in the annual Campus Race to Zero Waste. The event formerly known as RecycleMania, now in its 12th year, invites colleges to compete in promoting sustainability efforts on their campuses.
Through February and March, UMD is pushing to outdo last year’s results by reporting weight data in four categories: what proportion of our campus waste we divert from landfills; how much we recycle per capita; how much food waste and organic materials we recover; and how much electronics scrap we collect for safe recycling.
Adrienne Small, campus recycling coordinator in Facilities Management, hopes this year’s event propels UMD to its highest-ever numbers and raises Terps’ awareness of proper ways to recycle.
“There is no one on campus who re-sorts our recycling, so we have to be careful about contamination,” said Small. For instance, in dining areas, she urged Terps to throw away the lid and straw from a plastic cup along with any ice and liquid, before recycling the cup itself. Otherwise, the recycling bin is at risk of turning into more trash.
In the residence halls, students are educating peers about preventing food waste, gardening through the UMD Arboretum, and taking other college-appropriate sustainable steps, such as relying on reusable bottles and bags.
“In the past, (sustainability) hasn’t been made a priority,” said Samatha Briggs ‘25, chair of the Residence Hall Association’s Sustainability Committee. “If we are educated on it and begin to practice it now, when we are in leadership roles as we get older, we can make decisions to save our planet.”
Test your knowledge about UMD’s recycling through this 10-question quiz, which first appeared in Maryland Today in 2020. See, we believe in recycling too.
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