California State University Recycles 71% for RecycleMania Contest

RecycleMania wrapped up its 10th annual recycling competition in late March, with more than 84.5 million pounds of recyclables and organics recovered from 607 colleges and universities across the country.

“The growth success of RecycleMania proves that college campuses and students are embracing sustainability like never before,” said Ed Skernolis, vice president/recycling, Keep America Beautiful, Inc. “Keep America Beautiful is proud to sponsor and support this incredible event, knowing that we are creating awareness and building momentum for recycling everywhere – at home, at school, at work and throughout the community.”

"One unique aspect of RecycleMania is that everyone is a competitor,” noted Bill Rudy, recycling coordinator at Brigham Young University and chair of the RecycleMania Steering Committee. “No one sits on the sidelines. When a student recycles, they add to their score, and if they throw something away, it hurts the school’s ranking. With the whole campus in the game, the competitive spirit spreads and recycling increases.”

Colleges and universities chose to participate in one of two divisions, either the Competition or Benchmark. The Competition Division houses the traditional competitive rankings based on standard tracking and reporting criteria. The Benchmark Division allows schools to unofficially compare themselves with other schools and to promote RecycleMania on campus without the formal reporting requirements of the competitive ranking. Within each division, schools participate in any of eight categories.

The “Grand Champion” top three finalists, determined by the percentage of overall waste that is recycled over 10 weeks, were:

  • California State University-San Marcos (71.82 percent) – San Marcos, Calif.
  • New Mexico State University (69.05 percent) – Las Cruces, N.M.
  • American University (64.90 percent) – Washington D.C.

The “Per Capita Classic” top three finalists, determined by total pounds of recyclables collected per person, were:

  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy (81.75 pounds) – New London, Conn.
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (63.14 pounds) – Needham, Mass.
  • Colorado College (60.8 pounds) – Colorado Springs, Colo.

The “Waste Minimization” top three finalists, determined by the lowest overall amount of waste (recyclables and trash) per person, were:

  • North Lake College (6.17 pounds) – Irving, Texas
  • Harford Community College (7.87 pounds) – Bel Air, Md.
  • Santa Monica College (8.13 pounds) – Santa Monica, Calif.

The “Gorilla Prize” top three finalists, determined by the highest cumulative weight of recyclables, were:

  • Rutgers University (2,541,093 pounds) – Piscataway, N.J.
  • Harvard University (996,760 pounds) – Cambridge, Mass.
  • Stanford University (888,884 pounds) – Stanford, Calif.

Targeted Material (pounds per person) Paper:

  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (30.71 pounds)
  • Westfield State College (23.89 pounds) – Westfield, Mass.
  • Medical University of South Carolina (21.64 pounds) – Charleston, S.C.

Corrugated cardboard:

  • Kalamazoo College (25.23 pounds) – Kalamazoo, Mich.
  • Union College (23.14 pounds) – Schenectady, N.Y.
  • Rutgers University (20.41 pounds)

Bottles and cans:

  • Ursinus College (19.44 pounds) – Collegeville, Pa.
  • Kalamazoo College (16.29 pounds)
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (15.45 pounds)

Food service organics:

  • Johnson & Wales University-Denver (41.79 pounds) – Denver, Colo.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Academy (37.49 pounds)
  • Middlebury College (29.31 pounds) – Middlebury, Vt.

Top schools in each category earn “bragging rights,” while the winners of each are recognized with an award made of recycled glass.

The RecycleMania competition is a program of the RecycleMania Steering Committee in coordination with the College and University Recycling Coalition. Program management for RecycleMania is provided by Keep America Beautiful in coordination with the U.S. EPA's WasteWise program. RecycleMania is made possible through the sponsorship support of The Coca-Cola Company, American Forest & Paper Association and Keep America Beautiful.