MARCH 2012

RecycleMania kicks off 2012 competition

RecycleMania springs back into action as college campuses compete to see who can reduce, reuse and recycle the most on-campus waste. For an eight-week period, beginning in early February and running parallel to the NCAA basketball tournament, colleges and universities take part in an exciting competition that increases recycling participation by students and staff, and raises awareness about the significance of waste reduction programs on campuses.

From February 5 through March 30, 2012, 605 schools representing all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 5 Canadian provinces will compete in 9 categories to see who recycles the most on a per capita basis, who produces the least amount of waste and who recycles the largest percentage of their overall waste stream. Colleges and universities choose to participate in either the formal competition which ranks them based on standardized weight measurements, or as part of the less formal “Benchmark” division. In both cases, schools submit weight data for paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, food waste and general trash each week, and are, in turn, able to see how they measure up against each other in the continuously updated results. The 2012 tournament will feature a new electronics category, as well as a promotional video contest at based on a “Spirit of Recycling” theme.

“RecycleMania’s power comes from the way it taps school spirit to motivate students who may not react to a traditional environmental message,” according to Bill Rudy, recycling manager at Brigham Young University and president of RecycleMania, Inc.

RecycleMania is an opportunity for schools to raise awareness about their campus recycling programs as well as waste reduction and conservation issues in general.

In 2011, 630 participating colleges and universities collected over 91 million pounds of recyclables and compostable organics. This prevented the release of 127,553 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere. Top schools in the competition included California State University, San Marcos in the Grand Champion category, Union College of Schenectady, New York, in the Per Capita Classic, and North Lake College of Irving, Texas, winner of the Waste Minimization category.

The RecycleMania competition began in 2001 as a challenge between Miami University of Ohio and Ohio University. Today, it is independently owned by RecycleMania, Inc., which is governed by a steering committee made up of recycling managers from participating universities. Program management for the 2012 RecycleMania Tournament is provided by the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful.