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Recyclemania 2010: Over 600 campuses competing to reduce waste

College students just love a good competition, whether between dorm buildings, campus organizations, or rival schools. You probably remember homecoming float contests, intramural sports, and big games with the cross-state team. Since 2001, Recyclemania has tried to capture that spirit of campus competitiveness, and apply it to reducing waste at colleges and universities.

In 2001, the competition to collect recyclables involved two schools: Ohio University, and Miami University of Ohio. By last year (as I noted in a post about Recyclemania 2009), more schools participated in this event than are in the NCAA’s Division I; all together, they collected 69.4 million pounds of recyclable and compostable materials. The 2010 Recyclemania season kicked off in mid-January, and will run for ten weeks (and finish up right alongside that other behemoth of college competition, the NCAA basketball tournament). 607 schools are participating this year

While students will get into the competition, no doubt, Recyclemania also helps participating schools identify their waste footprints, and determine strategies and tactics they can use to reduce it. In fact, not all schools compete: some choose to participate in a less formal “benchmark” division. College and universities in the competitive program can aim for recognition in several categories, including largest amount of recyclables collected per capita, largest trash reduction per capita, and highest recycling rates. Last year’s winners included Cal State – San Marcos, Rutgers, Bard College, and McNeese State University (from my home town of Lake Charles, Louisiana).

Who’ll come out on top this year? You can follow the rankings over the entire Recyclemania competition period online. You can also keep an eye out for videos from participating schools… there are already a few up for this year (one’s available above).

Participating in Recyclemania, or done so in the past? Let use know what you’re doing (or what you did)…