Student poster contest to promote recycling
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SF State’s Recycling Center hopes to increase recycling on campus by giving students a creative opportunity to promote it themselves.

All students can enter the RecycleMania Poster Challenge by designing a poster promoting green themes such as recycling, waste reduction or sustainability by Dec. 12.

The recycling center will use the winning design in its advertising campaign for RecycleMania, a nationwide recycling competition next spring, said Caitlin Steele, recycling coordinator.

The chosen designer will also receive a package of “miscellaneous items that promote sustainable living” worth up to $200, Steele said. The runner-up will receive a similar package worth $100, and each contestant will take home an “SF Station” reusable travel mug.

Most students probably do not look at current recycling labels on campus, but they might look at creative student work, said Catrin Grutzmann, a student employee at the recycling center involved with the contest.

Promoting recycling on campus this way “targets those who want to recycle but don’t know how,” Grutzmann said. It may also increase recycling overall by reminding people who might otherwise forget. “If I told you every day to do it, you would do it, right?” she said.

RecycleMania is a nationwide competition, sponsored by Coca-Cola, in which colleges and universities recycle as much campus waste as possible in a 10-week period. The participating schools are then ranked by measures such as tonnage recycled, pounds recycled per capita and percentage of waste recycled.

SF State applied late for RecycleMania 2008 and participated with little advertising or fanfare. “We unofficially were a part of it and we unofficially took second place” in tonnage recycled, Steele said. The university recycled 150,000 pounds of discards—roughly five pounds per student—each week, on average, during the competition.

Though SF State already recycles a high percentage of its discards—about 63 percent, not counting composting and other types of waste diversion—it could improve enough to win RecycleMania 2009 without even changing its recycling program, Steele said. A recent audit of the university’s trash revealed that up to 90 percent of it could have been recycled, composted or otherwise diverted from the landfill, she said.

The poster contest and subsequent advertising campaign seek to dramatically increase recycling just by “getting more students involved in the process. It’s real easy, and we’re trying to make it easier,” Steele said.

SF State’s new sustainability Web site (, which lists several online green resources including a guide to recycling on campus, will announce the contest winner and runner-up Feb. 2, 2009. A jury and public poll will determine the two winning designs, according to a flier for the contest. The Web site will display the winning designs and may feature more submissions, Steele said. Contestants must submit a digital copy to Steele at

Afterward, the recycling center will produce promotional posters using the winner’s design and post them on campus. “We’re asking all faculty and staff, as well as [University] Housing, to support it” by offering to display the posters, Steele said.







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