Drexel competes in annual recycling tournament | The Triangle

Drexel competes in annual recycling tournament

Photograph courtesy of Brittany Gondos

Drexel University is participating in the 2019 RecycleMania Tournament along with more than 300 other colleges. The school that recycles the most will not only win the tournament, but bragging rights for their campus’ exceptional recycling practices.

“It’s really a great way to get the whole campus involved in recycling and seeing who can do the most and really prove how dedicated they are to sustainability,” operations coordinator for Campus Services Brittany Gondos said.

In addition to vamping sustainability efforts across campus, the tournament also raises awareness of recycling practices.

“I think everybody, for the most part we’ve talked to or dealt with wants to recycle or wants to be a part somehow but for whatever reason aren’t sure where or how,” Scott Dunham, grounds assistant director, said. “It’s a good time to bring questions and we’ll have answers for everybody, so it’s just a good time to educate anybody that’s interested.”

Drexel has a history of participating in the annual competition, and has something to show for it. Within RecycleMania, the Game Day Challenge is an event where the number of collected recyclables at a Drexel men’s basketball game is ranked against competing schools in the Colonial Athletic Association athletic division. Last year, Drexel got third place out of 24 schools.

“Prediction wise, [there’s] no reason why we can’t finish first. I think we have a lot more word out about it this year,” Dunham said. “We’re set up a little better this year to just encourage everybody to come to the game for one and cheer on their Dragons and then just bring either something with them to recycle, or what you buy at the game and recycle it. It’s good for basketball, it’s good for the challenge so it’ll be fun.

The Game Day Challenge will take place Feb. 23 as the Dragons take on the University of Delaware at 5 p.m.

In addition to this, there will be collection events held on all Drexel campuses from the end of February to the beginning of March. The Queen Lane campus collection will take place Feb. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Center City and University City collections will take place at the same time on March 6 and 7, respectively.

At these events, students can let go of nontraditional recyclables like hairdryers, keyboards, microwaves, televisions, print cartridges and computer mice.

“Collection events are for what to do with a lot of the stuff that sits in a dorm room or an office that you’re not sure what to do with. Anything electronic really we’ll take it, and that gets sorted through, and responsibly disposed of,” Dunham said.

Last year, Dunham said they shipped off about a half dozen full pallets with electronics of all kinds. This is not only good for our planet, but also makes students’ lives easier.

Photograph courtesy of Brittany Gondos.

He said these events can help students declutter their rooms.

“It’ll take a little work to get it there, but we’ll take it from there,” he said. “And it feels good, like you’re not just throwing it out and leaving it for someone to deal with.”

With responsibility in mind, it should be mentioned that most Drexel students don’t have to worry about whether or not they’re throwing their trash and recycling into the correct bin thanks to the school’s single-stream recycling program, which separates the two groups after collection. However, the issue of contamination is something that goes rather unnoticed and Dunham said that’s the biggest problem when it comes to recycling.

“You’ll pull a recycle bag and just see that it’s just all liquids or food or something that unfortunately has got to be tossed because everything in there is contaminated to the point where it can’t be accepted,” Dunham said.

While recycling is a key part in practicing sustainability, he said, when in doubt throw it out.

“What people should keep in mind is recycle as much as possible but stick to the general guidelines of how to do it,” he reiterated.

This is a practice he hopes will he practiced beyond the span of the competition.

After RecycleMania ends March 30, there will be additional opportunities for Drexel students to participate in sustainable events on campus. EarthFest 2019 will take place on Lancaster Walk in April. The tabling event brings together student organizations that are interested in sustainable efforts so that they can promote everything they’re doing in addition to showcasing other Drexel vendors and local organizations that hope to promote their sustainable efforts.

Drexel Green also meets quarterly to discuss initiatives and plans for the year. Gondos said  recycling was the main area of focus last year and this year’s is reuse. The next meeting is Feb. 28 and is open to anyone interested in coming.