Save money through RecycleMania

Need a caffeine fix? For a limited time, Northern Kentucky University visitors can get 25-cents-off coffee by taking advantage of some green alternatives.

In conjunction with Recyclemania, a nationwide waste-reduction contest among universities, NKU is negotiating discounts for people who want to cut down on their own trash.

For a limited time, anyone who uses a refillable cup to buy coffee at NKU will receive a discount on their purchase.

Supervisor of Building Services Glenn Scott is also negotiating a discount with food vendors at Northern Fare to for people who enroll in a program choosing reusable containers.

Scott said NKU will measure how much waste leaves the university each week, including what people recycle. Even if a student recycles a bottle, it is still considered waste, Scott said. Instead of recycling or throwing a plastic bottle out, he suggested refilling it first.

“We love recycling, but we would really prefer reduced waste,” Scott said.

Competing colleges will monitor and document the amount of cans, bottles, cardboard and, new to this year’s competition, rechargeable cell phone batteries.

Other events taking place are an office supply swap meet and a Take-It-or-Leave-It booth.

In an office supply swap meet, different departments bring their excess supplies to one room where other departments can take what they need. Take It or Leave It is a free-cycle booth where students can drop off or pick up paper, notebooks, books and supplies instead of throwing them away or buying new things.

“It’s like a flea market but all the items don’t cost anything,” Goode said.

The Recycle Olympics, a new event this year, will begin once RecycleMania ends. Teams of eight will compete in five or six events that are Olympic-based, with a green twist.

“Everything about these Olympics will be about going green, recycling and promoting the reduction of waste,” Scott said.

A few of the Recycle Olympic games are the pop bottle basketball shoot, an obstacle course with recycling materials and a shot put of phone books. This event will be March 31 on the Science Center lawn.

The competition began Feb. 6 and runs to Apr. 2. Last year, NKU finished first out of all Kentucky schools. Scott said the fact that NKU is a commuter school and department heads are printing less contributed to its success.

Scott said students can cut down on their own waste by reusing coffee mugs, water bottles, and lunch containers. Students should also print both sides of a sheet of paper in the computer labs, he said, adding that lab assistants can help students with this.

“It’s a fun competition and we would like everybody within the university to be involved,” said Jane Goode, campus and space planning coordinator.

For more information about reducing waste, visit the website

Story by Derick Bischoff