University Community

Ryors Hall wins Recycling Battle Royale

Ohio University’s Recycling Battle Royale is a five-week recycling competition between residence halls to see which can achieve the highest diversion rate. The diversion rate shows the percentage that was diverted from the landfill through recycling, out of the overall amount of waste generated.

The 2023 battle recently concluded and the results are in. Ryors Hall placed first with a rate of 38.48 percent, Jefferson/Johnson placed second at 38.43 percent, and Carr/Sowle placed third with 37.99 percent. During the five weeks of the recycling competition, the University as a whole sent 232,374 pounds of recyclables to Athens-Hocking Recycling Center. 

OHIO’s Sustainability and Climate Action Plan goal is to increase the diversion rate of municipal waste to 60 percent by 2026. OHIO’s current diversion rate of municipal waste is 56.1 percent. 

Unlike the percentages above that only include recycling, municipal waste also includes composting of food and landscape waste. OHIO’s goal can be achieved by supporting zero waste principles such as “refuse and reuse” and utilizing local recycling, composting, salvaging, and second-hand outlets.

Ohio University encourages its communities to reduce overall consumption of goods and not rely on recycling to solve waste issues. Unneeded items such as plastic cutlery when purchasing take-out food, or plastic water bottles being passed out at events, can be avoided. When making a purchase, people should consider if an item is really needed, if something already owned could be reused, or if the item could be purchased second-hand rather than new. 

The city of Athens passed a plastic bag ban that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. An easy way to reduce consumption of single-use items is to take reuseable bags to stores. Other ways include investing in a reusable water bottle, reusable silicone bags instead of plastic sandwich bags, and using stainless steel or glass containers.

It’s important to understand that an increased amount of recycling can indicate an increase in overall consumption. The diversion rate indicates the percentage of total waste that was diverted from the landfill, and that’s why a focus on diversion rate and not just the number of pounds recycled is encouraged. However, tracking a diversion rate removes attention on the total amount of waste sent to the landfill. Ideally, OHIO strives to decrease the tonnage of waste generated by reducing consumption of single-use items, reusing items, and finally recycling what cannot be reused. This is why another goal in the OHIO Sustainability and Climate Action Plan is to decrease the tons of waste per person from .24 to .22 by 2026. 

Thank you everyone that participated in this competition.  If you want to get more involved with Campus Recycling, you can sign up to volunteer on GivePulse or follow them on Instagram @ohiocampusrecycling.

November 1, 2023
Kate Harmon and Bellamy Suttles