'Why can't we have a competition for recycling?'

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Oregon State won the first three.

This year might be the University of Oregon's turn to win the Civil War - of recycling.

"We have competition in sports," said Zachary Stark at OSU. "Why can't we have a competition for recycling?"

Welcome to "Recyclemania," a competition run between colleges to see which one can recycle and compost the most waste per person.

Colleges in all 50 states and Canada participate, including the Ducks and Beavers.

"I think Recylomania motivates people," said Andrea Norris with the OSU campus recycling program. "It taps into that rivalry we already have and channels it into something really positive."

Both schools have recycling and composting sites.

"We have a recycling bin we use," said Harrison Kaplan at Oregon. "We try to use it as much as possible."

Both campuses keep track of how much is recycled in different categories.

"It's thousands and thousands and thousands of pounds," Norris said of paper recycling alone.

"That's making an incredible amount of difference in all that material," said Robyn Hathcock with UO's zero waste management program. "Without a compost program, all of that would go in a landfill."

Recycling isn't the only thing that can make a difference: the other two Rs are reducing and reusing can as well. At the UO, students helped saved over 1,000 bottles by using a resuable bottle and fountain.

"We always want people to be using reusable containers - reusable coffee mugs, reusable water bottles," Norris said. "That's one of the biggest impacts you can have by not producing waste in the first place."

While reusable materials aren't measured in this competition, OSU also has a surplus program, which motivates people to repurpose material.

"We divert a lot of material from the landfill by just putting it out there for people to have the opportunity to reuse items," Norris said.

The competition started in February and wraps up in 4 weeks.

As of Thursday, OSU was at 5.2 pounds per person to UO's 6 pounds.

"We feel good about it," Hathcock said. "We'll see how it ends up at the end."

"We obviously have plenty of time to catch up," Norris said. "We can beat them and get that trophy back this year."

Learn more about recycling in Lane County and Benton County