Recyclemania Results: One Month Update



Recyclemania, Colgate’s competitive waste reduction effort, has already been underway for one month. Recyclemania is a national competition that engages schools and universities in waste reduction activities. Its purpose is to serve as a benchmarking tool for on-campus recycling and waste reduction programs. Records are kept on the amounts and types of trash that are recycled and the results are sent to and assessed at the Recyclemania headquarters every week. There are multiple divisions and sub-competitions within Recyclemania that are designed to allow institutions to compete at appropriate levels based on their size and location. Colgate is participating in the Competition Division and the Waste Minimization sub-competition.

As far as the competition itself goes, Colgate is off to a decent start. In the first week of the contest Colgate’s recycling rate was a meager 5.57 percent. This figure then skyrocketed to 18.32 percent in the second week before then sinking slightly to 14.18 percent in the third week. The recycling rate reflects the percentage of total waste that is recycled and is expected to fluctuate from week to week. The hope is that the figure will show a general increasing trend over the ten weeks of competition.

In the waste minimization division, Colgate has been trying to lower the amount of waste produced at school, which is measured in pounds per person. Unfortunately, for the first three weeks, the amount of waste has been slowly climbing—increasing from 10.9 to 11.5 pounds. Once again, this could simply be a normal fluctuation, however, Colgate will need to substantially increase its efforts if a trend of reduction is to be achieved.

Outside of the competition itself, students have been hard at work on various projects aimed at improving recycling. One group of students is focusing on reducing waste at sporting events and other major gatherings on campus. At Tuesday’s Colgate-Cornell hockey game, for example, students manned recycling bins and encouraged fans to recycle their bottles and cans.

Another group of students is focusing on improving e-waste recycling on campus. If all goes according to plan, there will soon be a new e-waste collection center in the O’Connor Campus Center where batteries, laptops, iPods, cell phones and other electronic devices can be recycled free of charge.

Those who are interested in getting involved, either with the Recyclemania competition itself, or with any of the connected projects, can attend the next Recyclemania meeting on Thursday, February 18 at the conference room in the basement of Merrill House. More information can be found on the Colgate sustainability website at Signature signs for unmarked recycling bins can be found and printed out online. That’s all for now, keep on recycling!