Centre College will once again participate in Recyclemania in 2020, beginning Sunday, February 2. RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities and awareness to their campus communities.
Over an eight-week period ending March 28, hundreds of colleges across the United States and Canada are competing in several categories based on the weight of recycling, food organics and waste reduction collected. Each week, schools report their data and use updated rankings to rally students and staff to improve efforts to reduce or eliminate waste with educational activities, displays and other outreach efforts. The national recycling and incineration rate has increased over the past 30 years, with the current rate being 35 percent.
Since Recyclemania’s beginning in 2001, over 1,000 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada have participated. The 2019 RecycleMania competition results saw campuses recycling and composting 69.5 million pounds of waste and cutting out more than 300 million single-use plastic bottles. In those eight weeks, the participants prevented the release of 99,254 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to preventing the annual emissions from 20,895 cars. Schools from 46 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Canada participated.
Centre currently recycles paper, cardboard, aluminum and steel, and #1 and #2 plastic bottleneck bottles, with convenient recycling containers throughout campus.
RecycleMania is one of many ways Centre strives toward environmental sustainability and responsibility. The College maintains four Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified buildings on campus, has received grants totaling more than $35,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency to aid campus sustainability and has established a Green Fund that supports renewable energy.
In 2017, and again in 2018, Centre was named a Pepsico Recycling Zero Impact Fund (ZIF) recipient. The College was one of only eight schools selected nationally to receive funding through ZIF, a program designed to help bring campus eco-innovations to life.
Hope Springs Yard Sale is one of the College’s most successful recycling efforts. The annual spring sale was created to raise money for financial assistance for local citizens with multiple sclerosis, but it was later expanded to also give funds to local organizations. Almost all items in the sale are donated by Centre students as they move out of the residence halls at the end of the academic year. Centre staff and friends lead this effort, and Centre’s facilities management department provides logistical support. In 2019 — the 17th year of the sale — 99 individuals participated, volunteering a total of more than 1,020 hours. More than 7,500 items were offered for sale, and around 22,000 pounds of goods were diverted from the local landfill. The results of which included sending 257 pounds of food to a local food pantry and delivering 373 pounds of high-value science and technology books to the International Book Project for use around the world.
The overall goals of Recyclemania are to:
1. Motivate students and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation.
2. Generate attention and support for campus recycling programs.
3. Encourage colleges to measure and benchmark recycling activity in their effort to improve their programs over time.
4. Have a fair and friendly competition.
Show support by committing to recycling and by taking the Recycling Pledge.
by Cindy Long