RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction in their campus communities. Over an 8 week period, from February 6th to April 2nd, schools report recycling and trash data, which are then ranked according to who recycles the most. Recyclemania helps highlight BU’s waste reduction achievements, and makes us a contender against more than 600 schools nationwide. BU has made substantial changes and innovations to the recycling program. We’ve seen a significant increase in our recycling rate from 3% in 2006 to 30% in 2013.
To further increase our recycling, Boston University competed nationally for the third year in a row. Last year, 43 colleges and universities in Massachusetts participated, and BU ranked 5th in Bottles and Cans recycling. This year, with your help we improved our recycling rate. The success of BU’s waste reduction efforts is only achievable with your help. It’s not just a matter of school pride; it’s a matter of making a difference in your community and the world.
How It Works
Participating schools report recycling and trash metrics every week and are ranked in four primary competitions, along with four “targeted material” competitions:
Grand Champion: The Grand Champion category combines trash and core recyclable materials to determine a school’s recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation. Successful colleges and universities in this category demonstrate their achievement in both source reduction and recycling.
Stephen K Gaski Per Capita Classic: Schools compete to see which can collect the largest combined amount of paper, cardboard and bottles and cans per person. The Per Capita Classic is the original RecycleMania competition.
Waste Minimization: Schools compete to see which produces the least amount of municipal solid waste (both recyclables and trash) per person. This competition is intended to reward those schools that generate the least amount of combined waste and recyclables, emphasizing reuse and source reduction over recycling.
Gorilla Prize: This category recognizes the larger schools that recycle the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard and bottle and cans during the ten-week competition, regardless of campus population.
Targeted Materials: In addition to the four primary competitions, schools may compete in four targeted material categories including Paper, Corrugated Cardboard, Bottles and Cans, and Food Service Organics.
What We’ve Been Doing
We have implemented the following waste reduction activities on campus:
- Offered discounts or other incentives for using reusable mugs in campus dining operations.
- Created and promoted a system for the campus community to report wasteful practices and offer suggestions for waste reduction.
- Created an active program to educate employee and students about waste minimization practices (e.g. incorporating waste minimization information into new employee / new student orientation programs; giving regular presentations to campus groups and departments; setting up public displays, etc.)
What Can You Do?
In addition to keeping up the effort to recycle traditional items–cans, bottles, paper, etc.–bring used ink cartridges, Brita filters, batteries, light bulbs, and small electronics for recycling to the popular Recycling Café held on a weekly basis in the George Sherman Union Link, sponsored by sustainability@BU and run by student interns. Free coffee is also available, compliments of Dining Services, to those with a reusable mug.