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Competing to recycle: eyeglasses collection and recyclemania results

eyeglass recycling containers

In support of National Eye Donor Month, University Facilities and Services partnered with the Lions Eye Bank at Rochester to hold a collection for eyeglasses during the month of March. Participants mailed in their unwanted prescription and nonprescription glasses, sunglasses, and frames to University Mail Services to be sent to the Lions Club International. Lions Club volunteers then clean, sort, and package glasses for those in need, mostly in developing countries.

Tapping into the competitive spirit of the nationwide RecycleMania tournament, University departments had the opportunity to join a departmental challenge by vying to collect the greatest number of eyeglasses and competing to create the most “eye-catching” collection box. Overall, 330 pairs of eyeglasses were collected from both the mail-in program and inter-department competition, with the departmental competition accounting for nearly 200 pairs.

IMG_2247Congratulations to the department of Neurodevelopment & Behavioral Pediatrics, who won the collection component of the competition by collecting 52 pairs of eyeglasses! A panel of judges from the Lions Club voted to decide Rush Rhees Library Patron Services created the most “eye-catching” collection box. Their box creatively displayed adorable animals donning glasses and included a cutout of a decorative pair of glasses on top of the box (pictured left). Both winners will be given a celebration for department members to attend, in which a certificate will be presented by the Lions Eye Bank at Rochester.

Recycling Coordinator Amy Kadrie states, “This is the fourth collection we have done for glasses and partnering with the Lions Club organization has been fabulous. The new addition of the departmental competition really exceeded my expectations with the level of creativity and competitive spirit brought forward.”

The idea of the competition came from Karen Guarino of the Lions Eye Bank at Rochester. When boxes of glasses were delivered from the University’s last collection in August of 2015, Karen noted that a department took it upon themselves to create a decorated box for display. That sparked the idea to add a competitive component to the collection in which departments could participate.

In addition to the winners, University Facilities and Services would like to thank the following departments and groups for participating in the competition: Office of the Dean of StudentsUniversity CommunicationsCenter for Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy, Hepatology & Endoscopy CenterUniversity of Rochester Medical Center Headache CenterEdward G. Miner Library, and Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology (AIR).

The annual March collection for eyeglasses is held in conjunction with RecycleMania, an 8-week inter-collegiate competition in which institutions competed to recycle the most material. For 2016, the competition was comprised of 4.4 million students from 350 schools who altogether recycled and composted 79 million pounds and prevented 122,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from entering the atmosphere.

Congratulations to the RecycleMania 2016 winners! The Grand Champion of 2016’s RecycleMania was Richland College with a recycling rate of 82 percent. Loyola Marymount University ranked first in the Per Capita Classic by recycling 67 pounds per capita. Rutgers University ranked first in Gorilla Prize coming in with over 2 million pounds of recyclables — the highest gross tonnage independent of population.

The University of Rochester ranked fourth place in New York State for the Gorilla Prize collecting over 435,000 pounds of recyclable material. Nationally, the University placed within the top 30 for Paper, the top twenty for Corrugated Cardboard, and the top ten for Bottles and Cans. For full results visit the RecycleMania official website.

To promote Recyclemania, the student planning committee consisted of Facilities Team GreenDining Team GreenGreenSpaceEngineers for a Sustainable WorldGrassrootsEcoReps, and GlobeMed. At the start of February, the committee hosted the RecycleMania 2016 Kickoff Party which featured multiple activities, including a trivia game with prizes, a reusable coffee mug decorating station, and a tutorial on making sub-irrigated planters out of plastic bottles. In March, a lecture series dedicated in part to the mission of RecycleMania was hosted by Engineers for a Sustainable World. Early April marked the end of the competition with Mount Trashmore, an effort by Grassroots to provide a visual display of the amount of trash produced on the River Campus.

Visit the  UR Sustainable Facebook Page for pictures from the March collection for eyeglasses and RecycleMania.

Written by Darya Nicol, class of 2016

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