By: Makenzie Huber

Earth Day is not for another couple months, but already SDSU is focusing its energy on recycling. RecycleMania has begun on campus and will last until the end of March.

Jennifer McLaughlin, president of the Student Sustainability Council and a senior double major in environmental science and ecology and organismal biology, is excited for this year’s competition.

“I think it’s a great little competition,” McLaughlin said. “You get a little school spirit going outside of the sports arena. It promotes a good concept … across campuses.”

RecycleMania is an eight-week competition for schools to compete against each other throughout Canada and the United States. According to the organization it is a “friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.” The competition is in its 14th year.

SDSU is competing against Black Hills State University this year to see who can recycle the most. Beside BHSU and SDSU, the only other South Dakota school to compete in RecycleMania is South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

SDSU’s goal this year is to recycle 135,000 pounds. Last year’s goal was 93,000 but the school surpassed the goal by recycling 128,000 pounds.

Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. recycled the most amount of waste in the 2014 competition with 1,353,940 pounds.

McLaughlin believes SDSU will be able to reach this year’s goal for recycling but that the school should also recognize the importance of recycling in general.

“Recycling is a great way to be sustainable; it’s easy, it’s simple. When you recycle any item that can be recycled you’re helping to decrease the amount of trash that’s in the landfill and helping to reuse those materials to make other products, which will help in the future when we run out of resources and our need to be more conscious of what we do as a society,” McLaughlin said.

Taylor Anderson, a freshman mechanical engineering major, tries to do her part in RecycleMania and with recycling in general.

“I’ve been taking my water bottles from the market and putting them in recycling when they’re empty. I recycle my paper and boxes when I have them,” Anderson said. “There’s always more that we can do, but with the recycling opportunities that we’re given here I’m doing the most that I can.”

McLaughlin finds that students can recycle much more than what they do already.

“I see a lot of plastic bottles [in the trash],” McLaughlin said. “The Chic-Fil-A bags can be recycled, I see those in the trash quite a bit as well.”

Just heading into the second week of the season the Student Sustainability Council weighed 15,150 pounds of recycled material out of 83,560 pounds of trash this week, bringing the recycling rate to 15.35 percent. At this time last year the total recycling at SDSU was at 21,592 pounds with a recycling rate at 23 percent.