Recycling rivalries added another level of “madness” to March this year, as 523 schools competed in the RecycleMania Tournament, harnessing the competitive spirit to increase campus recycling and waste reduction.
Colleges and universities across the United States and Canada participated in the eight-week competition in which schools are ranked according to the amount of recyclable materials and food waste they collect. Between the Feb. 3 and March 30, participating schools collectively recovered 90.3 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials — the equivalent of preventing the release of nearly 121,436 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Like sports teams, during this 13th annual tournament, schools’ rankings were updated weekly. They could track their performance in eight categories – measuring their recycling rate; overall recycling by weight; lowest amount of total waste; and per capita recovery for paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, and food waste.
The winners in the three primary categories are:
- University of Missouri-Kansas City –
“Grand Champion” for the percentage of overall waste diverted to recycle bins (86.02%)
- California State University-San Marcos –
“Per Capita Classic” for the total pounds of recyclables co llected per person (53.11 lbs.)
- Valencia Community College –
“Waste Minimization” for the lowest amount of recyclables and trash per person (3.20 lbs.)
“Each year universities wait for the final results of the competition,” said Stacy Wheeler president of the nonprofit RecycleMania, Inc. “Because everyone participating is a competitor, this helps create the spirited atmosphere for students to develop new and better ways to recycle more. In the end, it’s a win for the home team and planet earth.”
Schools made videos to illustrate the spirit of recycling. Watch the winner below and others at the RecycleMania YouTube channel.
The competition is made possible with the sponsorship support of the American Forest & Paper Association, Alcoa Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company and SCA.
“Programs across the country like those of the RecycleMania winners have helped the paper industry maintain our high recovery rate — more than 65 percent for the past two years, diverting over 100 million tons of paper from landfills,” said AF&PA President and CEO Donna Harman.