In their ongoing quest to see who can be most politically correct, Ohio university administrators have devised an intercollegiate competition that can literally qualify as a trash sport. “The eighth annual RecycleMania competition kicks off Jan. 28 through April 5, with an anticipated record number of colleges and universities participating this year,” the Ohio University press office informs us. “RecycleMania is the brainchild of Ohio University Recycling Manager Ed Newman and Stacy Edmonds Wheeler of Miami University in Cincinnati, who started a friendly recycling competition between their respective schools in 2001, in an effort to increase recycling efforts at the two campuses.”
Though they do not note as much, such a contest would meet the federal Title IX regulation that insists upon equal athletic opportunities for men and women, whether the latter are inclined towards sports or not. The increasingly feminized NCAA will undoubtedly notice.
“RecycleMania is a friendly competition between college and university recycling programs,” OU’s news release explains. “Schools compete over a ten-week period, starting after the New Year and ending in April, the month Earth Day is observed.”
“Schools compete to see who can collect the largest amount of recyclables or have the highest recycling rate, reporting weekly measurements.” Once upon a time, only religious and patriotic holidays were “observed.” The OU release goes on to inform us that:
• “Nationwide interest in the competition has sparked a tremendous growth, and in less than six years, 400 colleges and universities from 46 states are now participating!” and
• “Pennsylvania leads the pack this year, with 31 participating schools.”
Well, I’m glad to know that my home state leads in something. Incidentally, the
putative benefits of recycling may be illusory.
“Mandated recycling and ‘green design’ requirements would be disastrous,” the Competitive Enterprise Institute pointed out in 2005. “The costs are staggering and will ultimately be passed down to consumers.”
“New design and recycling requirements will cripple technological innovation
and widespread recycling and substance bans will unleash a host of unintended
consequences and environmental risks.” It should be noted that CEI is a free market
think tank. Nonetheless, although predictably more nuanced, even the EPA throws a
few caveats into its promotion of recycling.
“Assessing how recycling will impact your community requires a full appraisal of the environmental and economic benefits and costs of recycling, as compared to the one-way consumption of resources from disposing of used products and packaging in landfills and incinerators,” the EPA advises. “Analyzing all of these factors together will help you determine if recycling is more cost effective in your community.”
Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.