Ohio-State-University-RecycleMania.jpg The Ohio State University is well known for its excellence, from “The Best Damn Band in the Land” racking up millions of views on the latest iPad Air commercial, to another undefeated football season in the Big Ten. With just more than 50,000 students, OSU is the third-largest institution in the nation and, as such, it is always determined to go big or go home. Outside of athletes, academics, research, fundraising initiatives and so much more, OSU is on the prowl yet again for the annual RecycleMania tournament. Over an eight-week span every spring, colleges and universities across North America compete for the gold in collecting the most recyclables, lowest waste percentage and the least amount of combined trash and recycling. The winning school receives a national press release and an award made of recyclable materials. As a Competition Division participant, OSU has pledged to replace paper documents with online alternatives whenever possible, to offer reusable dinnerware and utensils at all sit-down dining facilities and to actively create programs to educate employees and students about waste minimization practices. In addition, the school’s administration is promoting inter-office reusable envelopes for campus mail to reduce paper consumption. Because OSU is such a large campus and has such a massive student population, it is a mighty task when it comes to spreading the word and collaboration. The word begins at the Columbus campus’ 26 residence halls and by incorporating competition between buildings to provide incentive for residents to participate. This helps build step-by-step contributors while motivating students and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation. The RecycleMania competition hopes to generate attention and support for campus recycling programs. In turn, this encourages institutions to benchmark recycling activity and improve their programs overt time. But, most importantly, RecycleMania encourages a fair and friendly competition. It is small initiatives like these that make a huge difference when looking at the bigger picture. All the waste reduction and recycling efforts keep more trash out of our landfills and promote sustainable efforts. Ideally, recycling education starts early on, but these initiatives are great reminders for college students to ensure that while their environments may change, their recycling habits should not. At press time, OSU has recycled more than 28,000 pounds of materials during the first week of the RecycleMania competition. Keep track of the school’s progress here. To check out OSU’s zero-waste efforts at Ohio Stadium, click here.