Whatever motivation you need, be it the desire to keep the campus clean, to preserve the planet or to see Franklin & Marshall College beat Dickinson and Gettysburg, the organizers of Recyclemania want students, faculty and staff to get serious about recycling and reducing waste.
During a 10-week period, from Jan. 18 to March 28, Recyclemania pits more than 500 colleges and universities in a nationwide contest to see which school can recycle the most and throw away the least.
Though many schools have recycling and waste-prevention programs, studies by Recyclemania.org suggest that large volumes of recyclables on college campuses still end up in the trash. (See second photo on the right)
Recyclemania, which is supported by Facilities & Operations but organized by students, aims to help campus recycling coordinators rally the College community to care about recycling and waste prevention.
“Reducing the amount of trash you produce and recycling is something you should be doing anyway,” said Jessica Jackson ’10, recycling intern with Facilities & Operations.
Jackson and fellow Recyclemania organizer Paul Leight ’10 said a good showing in Recyclemania would send the message that students, staff and faculty are committed to sustainability.
“We may be small, but our commitment is huge,” Leight said.
Participating in Recyclemania is easy. The College has placed receptacles throughout campus for aluminum, paper and plastic.
Recycling is an important ethical decision, Leight added. “We have a responsibility to leave behind a better world for those who come after.”
This is the first year the College has taken part in Recyclemania, which began in 2001 as a friendly wager between Ohio State and Miami universities and has been growing since.
Franklin & Marshall is not going to win the competition its first time out, Jackson said. The College is competing against several large universities with well-established recycling and waste-reduction programs.
“But that is no reason why we shouldn’t work hard to be a leader and show others that we’re serious about sustainability,” she said.
Currently, F&M is ranked 26th overall in the Per Capita Classic – the competition to collect the largest amount of recyclables per person. During the last seven weeks, the campus has recycled 13.59 pounds of recyclables per person. Not bad, says Jackson. Among F&M’s peers, Gettysburg is ranked 37th and Dickinson 86th.
In the Gorilla Challenge – the contest to see which school can collect the highest gross tonnage of recyclables, regardless of campus population – F&M is ranked 140th of 288 participating schools, having created 37,852 pounds of recycled materials since the competition began.
That’s well ahead of Dickinson, which has produced 24,651 pounds of recyclables. Yet, F&M trails 134th-placed Gettysburg, which has produced 41,367 pounds of recyclable materials.
In the grand Champion Competition – based on the combined results of per-capita waste minimization and the amount the College has recycled – Franklin & Marshall is ranked 76th, with a recycling rate of 28.22 percent of its total waste. Gettysburg is in 81st position and Dickinson is in 188th place.
“That’s OK,” Jackson said, “but we could do better.”