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605 US colleges and universities recover 92,000,000 lbs of organic and recyclable materials during RecycleMania
The ruckus heard across college campuses throughout the US this Spring was not just because of the NCAA collegiate basketball tournaments! It was also RecycleMania season at 605 colleges and universities. The RecycleMania Tournament, which wrapped up its 12th annual competition at the end of March, is an eight-week challenge that ignites classic college rivalries, rallying students, faculty and staff to increase on-campus recycling rates beyond their collegiate competitors.
This year, 92,000,000 lbs of recyclables and organic materials were recovered, which prevented the release of nearly 150,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). This reduction in greenhouse gases is equivalent to the annual emissions from more than 25,840 passenger cars; electricity use of more than nearly 16,406 homes; or the burning of nearly 705 railcars' worth of coal. Equally impressive, the average recycling rate for participating schools increased from 27.61% to 28.49% over the course of the tournament.
The competition, which extended from 5th February through 31st March, included eight categories. The colleges and universities that took home top prizes in the three primary categories are:
* 'Grand Champion' (determined by the percentage of overall waste recycled): American University- (85.16%) - Washington, D.C.
* 'Per Capita Classic' (determined by total pounds of recyclables collected per person): Union College- (61.79 lbs.) - Schenectady, N.Y.
* 'Waste Minimisation' (determined by the lowest overall amount of recyclables and trash per person): Valencia College - (2.79 lbs.) - Orlando, Fla.
Top schools in each category earn 'bragging rights', while the winners of each are recognised with an award made from recycled materials.
To increase student enthusiasm, RecycleMania held its second annual video contest with the theme: 'The Spirit of Recycling'. With the public invited to vote for their favourite from among the 28 videos posted to YouTube, the student submission from Florida State University garnered the most 'likes' to win first prize followed by East Tennessee State University. Clemson University's video received the Judges' Award.
"One unique aspect of RecycleMania is that everyone is a competitor," notes Bill Rudy, recycling coordinator at Brigham Young University and chair of RecycleMania. "No-one sits on the sidelines. When students recycle, they add to their score - and if they throw something away, it hurts their school's ranking. With the whole campus in the game, the competitive spirit spreads and recycling increases."
The RecycleMania Tournament is an independent programme of RecycleMania, a non-profit organisation led by recycling managers from participating schools. The competition is made possible with the sponsorship support of the Alcoa Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, SCA AfH Professional Hygiene, Waste Management, the American Forest & Paper Association and HP. Programmme management is provided by Keep America Beautiful with additional programme support from the US EPA's WasteWise program and the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC).
"Colleges and their students are leading the way towards a more sustainable future, and RecycleMania is a perfect demonstration of their energy and commitment," says Matt McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful. "KAB is pleased to support the RecycleMania programme. We celebrate this year's results and congratulate every school and individual that participated."
Paula Davis, president, Alcoa Foundation, says: "We're proud to support RecycleMania and congratulate all the students for taking small, but meaningful actions to preserve the planet.
"In the US, we have an enormous opportunity to improve our environmental footprint by recycling more of what we consume. When recycled, a can of soda is back on the shelf in just 60 days."
And from the company that requires many of those cans for its products, Coca-Cola: "Everyone wins when we all recycle," says president of Coca-Cola Recycling Alain Robichaud. "Congratulations to all the students who helped protect the environment and conserve natural resources by recycling during RecycleMania.
"Coca-Cola is proud to help bring this exciting programme to college campuses around the country and remind students about the good things that happen when they recycle."
Joseph Russo, vice president sales & marketing for SCA's North American away from home professional hygiene business, says:"We are proud to sponsor RecycleMania, and we share students' commitment to protecting the environment. We urge all universities to evaluate how they can increase sustainability while keeping students and faculty happy, healthy and thriving in the classroom."
Waste Management Vice President Paul Pistono, thinks the initiative is fantastic. "RecycleMania is an incredible opportunity for Waste Management to energise and educate this broad audience of college students, faculty and staff about our efforts to triple the amount of recyclable materials nationwide by the year 2020,"he says. "As a company committed to extracting the most value possible from all of the materials we manage, we continue to look for ways to help our customers with cost-efficient, environmental solutions and improving recycling rates at higher education institutions."
RecycleMania was launched in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. The contest has expanded from two schools in 2001 to 605 colleges and universities in 2012 spanning all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and the UK. Over an eight-week period, campuses compete to see which institution can collect the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate. For complete competition background and details, visit the RecycleMania website at:
For the full results of the competition, go to:
19th April 2012