The Daily Gamecock

'RecycleOlympics' to kick off competition

Sustainable Carolina aims to surpass Clemson in national contest


Sustainable Carolina’s recycling team is sponsoring its second annual RecycleOlympics Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Davis Field.

A campus kickoff for the nationwide RecycleMania competition, RecycleOlympics, will feature games designed to educate and raise awareness among students about recycling.

Prizes from local businesses like Cool Beans, Yesterday’s, Tio’s and others will be awarded to the top participants in events that include an obstacle course, can-stacking and newspaper-hat making, according to Margaret Bounds, sustainability coordinator for housing at Sustainable Carolina. Participants will also be entered in a raffle for other prizes that include an iPod shuffle and iPod speakers. Aiming to draw a crowd, the event will feature music and free food from Cupcake and Salsaritas.

RecycleMania is an eight-week recycling competition among more than 300 colleges in the United States and Canada held from Feb. 5 through March 31. This is USC’s third year participating in RecycleMania , Bounds said, and like previous years, “our main focus is on the competition with Clemson.”

Schools in the competition report their weekly poundage of recycled and trashed materials and are ranked in categories based on their per capita recycling rate, recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and total amount of combined trash and recycling, according to the RecycleMania website. Winning schools receive national recognition and prizes made from recyclable materials.

USC was outperformed by Clemson in last year’s competition, Bounds said. Carolina finished 200th out of 288 participating schools and 84th in the “Gorilla Prize” category for large schools, while Clemson ranked 108th and 69th, respectively. The USC campus collected more than 229,574 pounds of recycling and achieved a recycling rate of 22 percent, up from 17 percent the previous year, Bounds said.

“We did show improvement between the two years, and our overall annual recycling rate is probably somewhere around the 20 percent mark,” Bounds said.

There are no specific numerical goals for this year’s competition, Bounds said, other than to improve on last year’s performance.

“We want to see improvement every year,” Bounds said.

To encourage students to recycle, the recycling team will be handing out prizes to reward students who are “caught green-handed” by recycling on campus, Bounds said.

“This is a good time to clean out your desk and any old notes from last semester. Now is definitely a good time to recycle them,” Bounds said.

Collecting compost will be a part of the school’s recycling strategy this year for the first time in the competition, and there will also be a phone book drive later in the competition, according to Bounds. A bulletin board in Russell House will post weekly recycling reports and updates on the standings among Carolina, Clemson and some of USC’s SEC rivals.

For updates on RecycleMania and information about sustainability on campus, visit and follow @sustainablecaro and @scecoreps on Twitter.