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University of Rochester

RecycleMania 2012: From Good to Better

May 2012

RecycleMania 2012 logoThe month of April was a time for celebrating Earth Day and Arbor Day.  Now it’s time to take a moment to celebrate the University of Rochester‘s fine performance in RecycleMania 2012. For those of you who may be new to the college recycling competition circuit, RecycleMania is an annual friendly competition between over 600 colleges and universities across North America and extends over a period of ten weeks. The main goal of the competition is to have the highest recycling rates per capita, as well as the lowest weight of waste per capita in each institution. According to Amy Kadrie, Recycling Coordinator at the University, “It offers a great opportunity to get the message out to our campus about wasting less and recycling more. By creating promotional events and activities, there is a great educational opportunity. People are motivated by the competition aspect and want to do their part to help us win.”

Members of Grassroots, the biggest sustainable organization on campus, lead the planning of events. This year’s volunteer coordinators were senior Robert Simeral and freshman Leah Mould. Some of the events for RecycleMania this year included a tour of the Monroe County Recycling Center, “Mount Trashmore”, and an Open Mic Finale Event.

The University of Rochester has once again done extremely well in the competition. In fact, in the Grand Champion category, out of 265 schools, the University placed 91st, outranking Cornell University, Harvard University and Princeton University, just to name a few. In the Per Capita Classic we scored even better and placed 29th out of 339 competitors. In four out of the seven categories we came out within the top 10%! Here are the details and our full scores:

Grand Champion: 91 out of 265 (Top 34%), 34.43% Recycling Rate

Per Capita Classic: 29 out of 339 (Top 9%), 30.81 lbs. per Capita

Gorilla: 25 out of 296 (Top 8%), 548,637 lbs. Recycled

Targeted Materials:

Paper: 17 out of 169, 14.11 lbs. per Capita

Bottles & Cans: 18 out of 146, 5.96 lbs per Capita

Cardboard: 17 out of 168, 10.74 lbs. per Capita

Organics: 84 out of 126, 1.85 lbs per Capita

We left some of our usual friends in our dust, like John Hopkins University, Stanford University and University of Pennsylvania. Student event coordinator, Robert Simeral said he was pleased with the school’s performance this year. Simeral also stated “the Mt. Trashmore event and RecycleMania promotional video that aired prior to some of the movie screenings on campus were both successful in grabbing students attention and making them stop to think about recycling.”

Congratulations are in order to American University who dethroned California State University-San Marcos, after its six year reign as the Grand Champion prize winner! Congratulations are also in order to Union College for winning the Per Capita Challenge, Rutgers for winning the Gorilla, and Valencia College for winning the Waste Minimization category.  

All of the schools who participated deserve a round of applause as there combined efforts lead to 148,897 metric tons of CO2 of Greenhouse gases reduced. This competition really isn’t all about winners and losers. More importantly, it’s about spreading awareness and sending a message about the importance of recycling and waste reduction.

It’s amazing how much the University has accomplished during the competition, but we should not use it as an opportunity to become complacent. We should use it as a stepping stone to keep on improving and make sustainability an everyday part of life.