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Posted 03.17.08

Wesleyan Competes in RecycleMania

For the second year in a row, Wesleyan is participating in the nation-wide competition, RecycleMania, for college and university recycling programs. The 10-week program provides campus communities with a fun, proactive activity in waste reduction.

More than 400 institutions are participating in different contests 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.

"This is a fun way for the Wesleyan community to get excited about recycling, and possibly end up with national recognition, awards and bragging rights," explains Jeff Miller, associate director of Facilities Management.

Since Jan. 27, Miller has been measuring Wesleyan's recycling efforts from residence halls and academic and administrative buildings. One a week, recycled materials are collected from various outside locations on campus and weighed. Cardboard weight collection is estimated by the size of containers removed from various locations on campus.

Miller reports the poundage to the RecycleMania organization for weekly ranking.

Wesleyan is competing in the “Partial Campus” category, because 25 percent of campus's recyclable materials are collected by the City of Middletown, and these collection amounts cannot be measured in the competition.

In the “Partial Campus” category, Wesleyan has ranked in the upper half of 44 schools in paper and cardboard recycling, and in the top half of 50 schools in bottles and cans. Wesleyan ranks 57th per capita overall, which equals roughly 14 pounds per person recycled, putting the university ahead of Williams, Middlebury, Tufts, Bowdoin, Hamilton and Colby in the competition.

“Wesleyan is competing against its peer institutions, which makes the competition even more exciting,” explains Joyce Topshe, associate vice president for facilities. “Even after the competition is over, we hope Wesleyan continues its outstanding achievements in recycling and waste reduction.”

RecycleMania began in February 2001 when Ed Newman (Ohio University) and Stacy Edmonds Wheeler (Miami University) decided that something had to be done to increase recycling in the residence and dinning halls on their campuses. The word spread and by 2006, 93 colleges and universities were participating. The number grew to 201 in 2007, and doubled for this years competition. Awards, trophies and participant certificates are given following the competition.

To learn more about the structure of the competition and Wesleyan’s weekly rankings, go to http://www.recyclemaniacs.org.
 
By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection editor