Recyclemania: SLC Goes Green(er)

There are blue bins, grey bins, and black bins. There are opaque black plastic bags and transparent colorless ones. The distinctions seem clear. But somehow, those few seconds before we dump the remainders of a meal at the Pub or a snack in the library into one or another plastic bin, become a moment of trepidation: ‘Is this recycleable? Blue bin or black bin?’ Invariably, recycleables end up in the trash cans. Some of us don’t think that closely about where our trash goes, or even what exactly qualifies as trash — it’s easy not to. Recyclemania is out to change that. Kyle Wilkie, Manager of Campus Operations, is spearheading Recyclemania, an initiative to educate the community and reduce the amount of landfill waste that Sarah Lawrence produces.

Recyclemania is an eight-week long competition between colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. This year, it begins on February 5 and runs through the end of March. As Wilkie recently explained, the competition occurs in schools large and small, but Sarah Lawrence will be compared with institutions of similar size and capacity. Currently, our recycling and landfill waste (trash) are picked up every couple of weeks and weighed, before being carted off to recycling centers or a landfill. The goal of the competition is to reduce the amount of landfill waste we produce, while simultaneously increasing the amount of recyclables. This requires minute changes in behavior on a large scale.

The plan? Education. There will be signs posted above trash cans and recycling bins denoting what goes where. Wilkie noted that many more items can be recycled than most people realize — your coffee cup (and its lid), plastic utensils, and even styrofoam. Wilkie sees Recyclemania as an “easy way to increase knowledge about sustainability related initiatives and the relationship between human ecology and environmental ecology.” He isn’t looking to overhaul life at Sarah Lawrence, but rather to influence small changes in behavior that will make people more educated, aware, and responsible.

Wilkie hopes to work with student organizations and individuals to create the most successful Recyclemania experience. As students, we have a different understanding of needs and demands. Outreach to environmental groups on campus is in the cards, and Wilkie would love to hear from any students interested in getting involved or just finding out more information.

Email him at if you’re interested.

Images from Google Images

Nina Sparling (Editor, “What’s Up”) is a bi-coastal aspiring bread baker frustrated with the current food system. Originally from Berkeley, she moved to New York, complaining most of the way, until she found the Met and figured out the subway (but still has serious envy for Bay Area vegetables). Currently a sophomore at Sarah Lawrence, Nina studies languages, political ecology, and geography and tries to figure out how they all relate.

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