For the past few years, WashU has participated in an annual recycling competition with over two hundred colleges and universities across the US and Canada. This year’s eight-week competition kicked off last Sunday, February 4th, and will continue through March 31st. With each participating college reporting detailed waste reduction and diversion statistics, each week poses a new opportunity for WashU to rise to the top. Competition is kept fair and friendly through weekly data analysis by RecycleMania that compares waste reduction to each school’s typical per capita waste generation and its percentage diversion, with the hope of promoting waste sorting education and advanced diversion practices through healthy competition.
In 2017, WashU reduced contaminated compost loads by 75%, down from almost 40% in 2016 to 10% during 2017’s 8 weeks of RecycleMania. We reduced our landfill loads by 18,000 pounds, and diverted 22,768 more pounds of compost. That’s the weight of one sedan per week diverted from the landfill! Furthermore, in the first seven weeks of the competition, not one dumpster of recycling was considered contaminated and thrown out (the previous year’s average was 23% contaminated recycling loads).
RecycleMania has proven to be a great opportunity for WashU to review and improve recycling programs and practices. Special programming over the 8-week competition includes:
- Additional signage in dining areas calling attention to commonly mis-sorted materials
- Weekly Waste Analysis posts: Instagram and Facebook
- E-Waste Collection and Confidential Paper Shredding event: Thursday March 29, 7am – 11am at the Knight Center
- Race to Zero Waste competition: Hillman Hall (currently in the planning process): Feb 26 – March 31
- Recycling Genius Training at the WashU School of Medicine: Date/time TBD
- Waste Education coordinated with the Green Cup Competition