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Alcoa Foundation Partners with University of Houston for RecycleMania Campus Recycling Challenge

The Alcoa Foundation, in partnership with national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful (KAB) and the College & University Recycling Coalition (CURC), is providing 60 recycling bins to University of Houston as part of its national bin grant program to colleges and universities throughout the country during the 2012 RecycleMania collegiate recycling competition. The bin grant program is an effort to help schools boost their results during the competition, and expand their recycling collections throughout the year.

Alcoa Foundation has awarded 32 grants to colleges and universities, ranging from well-known large universities to smaller schools. University of Houston will use its bins to empower and educate students about recycling. In total, 20,000 recycling bins will be distributed on campuses throughout the country.

“Our continued support of RecycleMania is designed to ignite real change, to achieve one thing: dramatically higher recycling rates,” said Beth Schmitt, director of recycling programs for Alcoa. “Through the recycling bin grant program, we want to encourage a social shift toward recycling on college campuses. We want to show Millennials that recycling is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do, and it’s something they should be in the habit of doing long after they leave college.”

“We are deeply grateful for the support from Alcoa and Keep America Beautiful for our recycling efforts,” said Leah Wolfthal, Program Coordinator for Sustainability at the University of Houston. “Receptacles are a fundamental element of any recycling program, on which energized, creative and pro-sustainability University communities rely to activate their recycling empowerment campaigns. We are excited to further develop our relationship with Alcoa and Keep America Beautiful.”

“RecycleMania provides colleges and universities with an easy way to boost recycling on campus and to instill students with a greater sense of obligation to recycle throughout their lives,” said Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. “We’re thankful for the support of Alcoa Foundation, and for the company’s continued leadership in advancing recycling nationwide.”

RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. During the competition, which runs Feb. 5 through March 31, colleges and universities vie for top awards in nine categories to see which schools recycle the most on a per capita basis, produce the least amount of waste, and recycle the largest percentage of their overall waste.

The University of Houston is competing in RecycleMania for the fourth year and entered into the categories of waste minimization, grand champion, per capita and gorilla prize in this year’s competition. In addition to promoting the university’s participation in the national contest, the university also hosts an on-campus team competition where student, faculty and staff organizations or groups will compete against each other for a catering credit. This year, the teams have been challenged to run their own recycling awareness campaigns in order to energize and stimulate the campus’s recycling efforts.

Since 2008, Alcoa has distributed more than 100,000 recycling bins, launched the “Make an Impact” program to help families live more sustainably, developed the free Aluminate™ recycling app, and, in the last five years, invested nearly $3.5 million in community-based recycling programs. Alcoa Foundation helped kick off the 2011 RecycleMania competition by awarding 13 universities across the U.S. with thousands of stackable, six-gallon bins appropriate for use in student housing and offices. Alcoa’s recycling initiatives can be found at

About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a comprehensive national research institution serving the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. UH serves more than 38,500 students in the nation’s fourth-largest city, located in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region of the country.

About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately US$446 million. Founded more than 50 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than US$550 million since 1952. In 2011, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than US$20 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships, engaging its people to improve the environment and educating tomorrow’s leaders. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their energy, passion and purpose to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2011, a record 56 percent of Alcoa employees took part in more than 1,200 events across 24 countries, reaching 81,000 children, serving 9,000 meals, planting 34,000 trees and supporting 1,800 nonprofit organizations. More information can be found at

About Alcoa Recycling
Alcoa and the aluminum industry have a goal to increase can recycling rates in America to 75% by 2015. To hit this goal, Alcoa and the Alcoa Foundation have distributed more than 75,000 recycling bins, launched our Make an Impact calculator to help families live more sustainably, created the Aluminate™ recycling app and, in the last five years, invested nearly $3.5 million in community recycling programs across the country. If every American recycled just one more can per week, we would reach our goal. Join us in this important effort, download the app, and recycle. Together, we CAN make a difference. Visit

About Keep America Beautiful, Inc.
Keep America Beautiful, Inc., established in 1953, is the nation's largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. This national nonprofit forms public/private partnerships and programs that engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community environments. For additional information, visit

About the College & University Recycling Council
The College & University Recycling Council (CURC) is a membership-based nonprofit organization made up of collegiate recycling and sustainability professionals seeking to exchange technical knowledge and best practices on recycling and waste reduction programs between institutions of higher learning. Originally formed in 1992 as a technical council of the National Recycling Coalition, CURC incorporated as an independent organization in 2009. Today, CURC counts nearly 1,300 members and is led by a steering committee made up of recycling and sustainability program managers from universities across the United States. Among other initiatives, CURC supports collegiate recycling programs through a free webinar series, annual workshops, a quarterly e-newsletter, the development of best-practices manuals and toolkits. For more information, go to