Apr 15, 2012
By Tessa Dufresne
Following eight weeks of intercollegiate recycling competition, Ohio University's Athens campus finished first among Mid-American Conference (MAC) schools, according to final RecycleMania results, released Friday.
For the first time, all six Ohio University campuses participated in RecycleMania, joining more than 600 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. In total, the competition helped to avert the equivalent of 148,897 metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the competition's website.
RecycleMania includes eight categories, from "Grand Champion" – recycling rate as a percentage of overall waste generation – to "Gorilla" – the gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard, bottles and cans.
Among OHIO campuses, the Athens campus placed highest in the "Grand Champion" category, finishing 43rd with a recycling rate of 43.79 percent. The Lancaster campus shone with a second place finish in the "Bottles/Cans" category and a ninth place finish in the "Per Capita Classic," which measures recycling on a per person basis. OHIO's Southern campus posted an eighth place finish in the "Waste Minimization" contest.
For complete results and descriptions of competition categories, click here.
Recycling and Refuse Manager Ed Newman, who cofounded RecycleMania in 2001 with his counterpart at Miami University, said Ohio University's Athens campus reported higher overall results than in past years and a greater accumulated recycling rate in this year's contest. Newman attributed the University's success to the commitment of the Office of Recycling and Refuse staff and to the recently upgraded campus recycling program.
"A dedicated staff member in the last couple of years systematically went through every building on campus to upgrade recycling," Newman said.
The practice, he added, led to more recycling awareness across campus.
According to Adam Riehl, director of Facilities Management, OHIO focused on the "Waste Minimization" category in the 2012 competition. Newman said this is Athens campus's weakest area because of its large population.
"We're big consumers," said Newman. "We consume more, but we're doing more things to try to recover materials."
Newman said composting is the University's most beneficial undertaking to reduce total refuse. Recently the University broke ground to increase the composting operation by threefold.
"The compost expansion is slated to be in full operation, composting 100 percent of all organic waste from our dining halls and food preparation sites and kitchens by fall 2012," said Annie Laurie Cadmus, director of Ohio University's Office of Sustainability.
According to Newman, RecycleMania is one of many continued efforts by the Office of Recycling and Refuse to channel waste through composting, recycling, reducing waste and reusing items. All of these initiatives align with the University's Sustainability Plan, helping to enhance student and community involvement, he added.
"Recycling is one of the more easily understood sustainability-related efforts a person can pursue," said Cadmus. "This competition is a wonderful way for us to encourage behavior change that will positively impact the future of our campus and environment."
Grand Champion 43
Per Capita Classic 70
Waste Minimization 107
Corrugated Cardboard 29
Food Service Organics 81
436 Metric Tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, or
232 cars off the road, or
the energy consumption of 115 households