February 3 marks the beginning of RecycleMania at Centre College, a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.
Over an 8-week period ending March 30, 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 rate has increased over the past 30 years, with the current rate being 34 percent.
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.
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 2018 — the 16th year of the sale — 111 individuals participated, volunteering a total of 948 hours. More than 8,000 items were offered for sale, diverting around 25,000 pounds of goods from the local landfill. The impact of the 2018 sale included 194 pounds of food sent to local food pantries, and 181 pounds of high-value science and technology books sent to the International Book Project for use around the world.
The overall goals of Recyclemania are:
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
Feb. 4, 2019