You could almost feel the tension blanket the entire office. For the past couple of days Brigitte, our waste diversion coordinator, would snap into her chair, quickly head over to the RecycleMania website, and then let out a little huff. The computer would diligently inform her that the results of the 2015 competition were still be tabulated.
Great, another couple of hours before she could check again.
It's kind of strange to think that we were a little nervous to get the results for RecycleMania this year. This certainly wasn't our first rodeo, uOttawa has been the Canadian champion for the past six years running. But this year, well this year we were hoping to set a personal best, We really wanted to set a new high point for ourselves.
So ignore the title of this post for a moment and put yourself in our shoes. What could we do to engage the community? Well we ran a couple of fun events that I think were worth mentioning.
Ugly Sweater Day
Yes I know this isn't a recycling event but it took place during RecycleMania so we did add a little waste reduction twist. This year we used recycled sweaters from the Free Store to do a photo booth style event.
Facebook photo album
Waste Bucket Challenge
The WBC was a great event targeted at getting people to use their own social networks to promote recycling. We got a lot of participation this year and thanks to Chelsea over at UTM, we got coverage in the Toronto media.
This was a partner event with the SFUO during Green Weeks (also during RecycleMania... I mean RecycleMania is so long that almost everything happens at the same time). This DYI cosmetics workshop brought together a group of people interested in personal/environmental health and in no packaging.
Another partnership event, this time with Muggy Mondays, designed to encourage people to carry around their reusable mugs. We took pictures of people with their mugs and offered a prize for participation. Again, a great way to get people to share their pro-environmental behaviour in their own social networks.
Winner on Facebook
The cans had been counted, the paper had been stacked, and the results were in... the University of Ottawa claims the crown as Canada's premier recyclers for an unprecedented 7th year in a row!
This year was a personal best in a bunch of categories. Overall we placed 23rd internationally as well as 1st in Canada. We ranked in the top 50 in five categories and diverted a whooping 56% of our waste. Check out the infographic below for the complete rundown.
Thank you to all our partners, to the upstanding people who participated in our events and shared info about RecycleMania, and a special thanks to Brigitte Morin, who worked tirelessly to make sure uOttawa was on top of the recycling mountain again.
~jON - campus sustainability manager