STONY BROOK, N.Y., February 20, 2009 – Stony Brook University is one of 514 universities internationally – and the only one on Long Island – to participate in “RecycleMania, which pits colleges and universities nationwide in a contest to see who can reduce, reuse, and recycle the most campus waste. For the first time, Stony Brook Southampton has joined the main campus in this collaborative effort.
Over a 10-week period from January 18 to March 28, participating schools compete in various categories measuring the success of their recycling and waste reduction efforts. This year’s 514 competing schools, the most in the competition’s history, represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia and include institutions ranging from small two-year community colleges to Ivy League universities. The international participants are Canada and India.
RecycleMania helps campus recycling coordinators rally student, faculty, and staff participation in recycling and waste reduction programs, while offering bragging rights and special awards made out of recycled materials to the winning schools. Though many schools have had recycling and waste reduction programs for years, studies have found that large volumes of recyclables still end up in the trash. RecycleMania motivates campus communities to recycle more often. By framing recycling in competitive terms, RecycleMania taps the same intercollegiate spirit that drives sports rivalries.
The competition is divided into several categories. The two main categories are the Per Capita Classic, which measures the total amount of recyclables collected per person, and Waste Minimization, in which schools compete to see who can generate the least amount of overall solid waste per capita. From these two categories a grand champion is designated based on who recycles the greatest overall percentage of their solid waste stream. Additional recognition is given to schools that collect the most paper, beverage containers, cardboard, and food waste for recycling, as well as the school that collects the greatest overall amount of recyclables. Starting with last year’s competition schools that have signed the college and university-based Presidents Climate Commitment can receive credit for participating in the Waste Minimization category.
"These internal contests are a great way to motivate the student residential population as they get very spirited about who is conducting the best recycling program and in turn get to have bragging rights over fellow students,” said Michael Youdelman, Manager of the Department of Recycling and Resource Management at Stony Brook. “Ultimately, what we are after is helping to educate the University community about the benefits of Recycling and Sustainability and how it all adds up when each of us does our part. The cumulative effects of all of our actions as Stony Brook University, combined with the 500 plus Universities competing nationally is a great way to make a difference and lower our overall negative impacts on the environment.”
Each week, the standings are posted online for all participants to see, motivating campuses to work harder as they aim not only for the top prizes, but also to beat out their own rival schools.
To help schools promote the competition on campus, RecycleMania provides professionally developed promotional materials and web and email forums for recycling coordinators to share tips and best practices. The RecycleMania competition is organized by collegiate recycling coordinators from various universities, and is jointly administered by EPA’s WasteWise program and the NRC. The competition is endorsed by NRC’s College and University Recycling Council and the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology program.
For additional information please contact Michael Youdelman in the Department of Recycling and Resource Management at (631) 632-9673.
History of the RecycleMania Competition
The RecycleMania competition began in the spring of 2001 as a friendly challenge between recycling coordinators at two schools in Ohio, Miami University and Ohio University. From the outset, the competition was meant as a way to get students and staff more excited about participating in recycling efforts. That first year, Miami University won, collecting 41.2 lbs. of recyclables for each person on campus. The following year Miami and Ohio were joined by two more schools, Bowling Green State University and Harvard University, with Bowling Green winning the title with 48 lbs. per capita. Since then the competition has continued to grow in popularity, doubling the number of schools involved each year.
Learn more about RecycleMania at www.recyclemania.org.