May 30, 2013

523 Colleges compete for Recycling Honors

The College of William & Mary

The results are official! The 2013 college recycling champs have been announced by RecycleMania, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City was crowned national Grand Champion by finding ways to recycle 86.02 percent of overall waste during three weeks of competition.

The College of William & Mary took top honors as Virginia’s “Grand Champion” with 47.391 percent of overall waste recycled, while the University of Virginia successfully defended its in-state “Gorilla Prize” title by recycling 513,584 pounds of materials.

And that's not all.  Participating schools collectively recovered 90.3 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of nearly 121,436 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere.

“Each year universities eagerly wait for the final results of the competition,” said Stacy Wheeler, president of 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.”

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 just two schools to 523 colleges and universities located in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada.

On the UVa campus, the RecycleMania competition is a project of the College and University Recycling Council. 

“We did extremely well this year,” said Nina Morris, sustainability outreach coordinator for Facilities Management. “The U.Va. community not only increased participation in the recycling program, but there was a concerted effort to encourage waste reduction.”

Other local colleges also did their part, and competition among athletic conferences was intense. 

For the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) division, the University of Maryland came in second behind Boston College, in the Grand Champion competition.  Virginia Commonwealth University ruled the Atlantic 10 ahead of George Washington and the University of Richmond, while the College of William and Mary soundly beat James Madison University in the Colonial Athletic Association.  Georgetown topped the Big East, and VMI beat Radford for top honors in the Big South.

And by total pounds recycled, the top 10 Gorilla Prizes went to:

  • Rutgers University (1,519,216,00 lbs.)
  • Duke University (1,343,032,000 lbs.)
  • UC Irvine (1,023,746,000 lbs.)
  • Michigan State University (1,015,341,000 lbs.)
  • Harvard University (1,001,180,000 lbs.)
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (823,296,000 lbs.)
  • Stanford University (822,296,000 lbs.)
  • University of Pittsburgh (812,280,000 lbs.)
  • Boston College (794,050,000 lbs.)
  • Purdue University (753,963,000 lbs.)

But these competitions aren't just about claiming titles.  They show an underlying commitment to sustainability which is becoming increasingly important to undergraduates as well as to college-bound high school students  looking for ways to differentiate colleges.

In fact, among 9,955 college applicants who participated the Princeton Review 2013 ‘College Hopes & Worries Survey,’ 62 percent said that having a way to compare colleges based on commitment to environmental issues (from academic offerings to practices concerning energy use, recycling, etc.) would contribute to their decision to apply to or attend a particular school.

More information and a complete list of winners (broken down by state and athletic conference), may be found on the RecycleMania website.

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