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What good ever came from nothing?

February 22nd, 2011 @ 12:13 pm by Brenda Dawson

Editor’s note: Students living on campus have little more than a week left to compete in the “Go Zero Waste Challenge” competition between residence halls (though they can continue to help UC Davis compete nationally in Recyclemania until April 2).

Today’s guest blogger Elye Mann, a sustainability assistant for Student Housing and a fourth-year environmental engineering major, shares highlights from the challenge and how students can still help give their residence a boost in the competition:

The “Go Zero Waste Challenge” aims to highlight the value of limiting waste production from students’ everyday activities. Throughout February, the three residence hall areas (Segundo, Tercero and Cuarto) are competing with each other to reduce their waste.

What does zero waste mean? The principle is simple; divert as much as possible from a landfill by reusing (e.g. cardboard packaging), recycling (e.g. plastics, cans), or reutilizing (e.g. compost). UC Davis currently has the goal of 75 percent waste diversion by 2012 and zero waste by 2020.

clarabelle-trophy-260w.jpgEach residence hall area is competing in two categories for a chance at three awards.  The Recycling Champion will prove themselves by achieving the highest diversion rate. The Participation Champion will be the residence hall area with the most participation in special recycling and sustainability programs. Each time residents are involved in one of these events, they receive participation points for their area. They also get raffle tickets that make them eligible for a prize drawing for one of three $50 Downtown Davis gift cards. (These are redeemable at more than 200 downtown businesses!)

The residence hall area that does the best in participation and recycling is named the Overall Champion. They also receive the Clarabelle Trophy and a special dessert at their dining commons.

Here’s how to earn participation points:

  • The Go Zero Waste T-shirt Design Competition gives residents a chance to be creative and show their love for zero waste (not to mention earn a $100 gift card).
  • Residents can work with their Resident Advisors to create a sustainability program for their community.
  • Take a photo with the Blue Bottle and post it to the Positive Impact wall on Facebook. The resident with the most “likes” for their photo wins a $100 gift card.
  • Complete the Go Zero Waste Survey to help improve the recycling program.
  • Join the Bucket Program, which allows residents to collect their compost and bring it to their dining commons instead of wastefully throwing those food scraps away.
  • Finally, participate in the recycling event in the dining commons this week.

(Population differences will be accounted for and each residence area is weighted accordingly so there are no unfair advantages.)

Currently, Tercero leads both categories but there’s still plenty of time and plenty of participation points to give out. Besides, when UC Davis goes zero waste, everyone wins. Get out there and be a zero hero!

Caption: The coveted Clarabelle Trophy will go to the residence hall area named Overall Champion, for both recycling and participation.

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