Recyclemania 2013:
Can Mustangs master the single stream?

As the annual RecycleMania competition returns, act 'green' and win.

Recyclemania 2013 Logo

DALLAS (SMU) – The annual RecycleMania competition is back at SMU, and the University’s E-reps (student environmental representatives) are hoping to catch people “green-handed” as they correctly toss items like plastic bottles, paper and aluminum cans into campus recycle bins.

Recyclemania 2013 LogoRecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over an eight-week period each spring, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week and are, in turn, ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most.  This year’s competition runs from Feb. 3 – March 30, and participating schools can track their performance against other colleges and universities through weekly rankings posted at

Reducing the amount of material SMU sends to the landfill is easy since the campus takes the “single stream” approach to recycling – which means there’s no need to sort the most common materials.  Cardboard, paper, plastic bottles and tubs, as well as aluminum and tin cans are all recyclable together at SMU because those items are sorted by an automated system at a central processing plant after they are collected.

But there are a handful of items that should be sorted, and SMU has a way to help with that, too.  Items like batteries and printer cartridges may be recycled separately in the area shared by the Post Office at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center 

What does a recycle bin look like at SMU? Sometimes it’s obvious – like the large, bright blue bins marked with the recycle logo.  Coke has provided specially marked recycle bins in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. And in all campus buildings, any bin outfitted with a clear plastic liner is reserved for recyclables while bins with black liners are reserved for traditional waste.

Recyclemania Trophy
Winning schools in the Recyclemania competition receive an award like this one made out of recyclable materials, and win the right to host that category’s special traveling trophy for the coming year.
SMU’s E-Reps, students who promote environmentally conscious behavior within their assigned residential communities, are taking the lead in this year’s RecycleMania competition, along with members of SMU’s Sustainability Committee, Sustainability Administrator Kevin Dilliard and SMU Facility Services.  In addition to competing nationally against other universities, SMU is hosting internal competitions between residence halls and Academic/Administrative/Athletic facilities during RecycleMania.

Jewel Lipps, an E-rep and vice president of the SMU Environmental Society, says the E-Reps will be wearing RecycleMania T-shirts during the competition to help spread the word.  The E-reps also will set up a recycling information table during evening hours outside Mac’s Place in McElvaney Hall to help demonstrate recycling tips in the first month of the competition.  

“At SMU, we take pride in our beautiful campus,” Lipps said. “If SMU led the RecycleMania competition in Texas, we would show that SMU values beauty in our greater community and acts with environmental consciousness. On a more practical side, we are an urban university, and recycling really matters here! We don't have much space to throw our waste, and with so many people in the city, many end up dealing with the negative effects. By recycling more, we're showing that we care about our community.” 

Follow the E-Reps blog for information about the competition and other sustainability tips at