RecycleMania began February 7. It is an eight-week benchmarking competition between nearly 400 colleges in the U.S. and Canada to see who can divert the most trash from landfill. During the competition, WashU and other colleges report the amount of recycling, composting, and trash they collect each week. The goal is to increase recycling and composting during the competition, but also to sustain recycling participation once the competition is complete.
In preparation for RecycleMania, several stakeholders across the university were engaged to try to determine areas of opportunity for increasing recycling. As a result, WFF, the contractor who provides custodial services across campus, invited the Office of Sustainability to present about the competition to the entire custodial team. The Office welcomed the opportunity to connect with the people who play such a big role in the university’s recycling efforts.
After the presentation, Sustainability Manager Cassie Hage opened up the floor for questions and suggestions. We were very pleased by the level of engagement (despite the fact that it was 6:30a and many people were wrapping up their shifts). We would like to recognize staff members who shared ideas and innovations:
- Moneeka Johnson (left) has observed high levels of contamination in the recycling and compost containers at Hillman Hall, something that other partners have mentioned, as well. She suggested increasing educational outreach to the faculty, staff, and students who occupy this space to increase participation in the recycling program and to decrease contamination. Hillman Hall recently received Platinum LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It seems fitting that such a space should have exemplary waste diversion practices, as well.
- Charita Wilson (right) was quick to raise her hand after the presentation. She has observed stacks of papers accumulating in offices. She suggested sending a reminder to all staff and faculty to encourage them to do some “spring cleaning” during RecycleMania: recycle all of those papers and contribute extra weight to the competition! Charita works in Compton Hall.
A big thank you to the whole WFF team for their work keeping the buildings clean and making sure sorted materials end up in the right locations. Please join us in making their jobs easier by reading the signage on the containers and sorting your waste into the proper containers. RecycleMania runs February 7 to April 2 and is a great time to recognize the custodial staff. Show them support for being an integral part of our recycling team!