RecycleMania Wants Your Plastic (Among Other Things)

Wesleyan is participating in the Benchmark Division of RecycleMania in 2010.

Wesleyan is participating in the Benchmark Division of RecycleMania in 2010.

For the fifth year in a row, Wesleyan students, faculty and staff are becoming “recycle maniacs.”

RecycleMania, a national recycling and waste minimization competition for universities and colleges, began Jan. 17. For 10 weeks, Wesleyan will record the volume of paper, cardboard and glass/metals/plastics collected from most academic, administrative, on-campus student dormitory facilities and the Usdan University Center. Wesleyan also will record the amount of garbage.

This year, all plastic items identified as numbers 1 through 7 can be recycled in Wesleyan’s “glass/metal/plastic” recycle containers.

“In the past we have only been able to recycle No 1 and No. 2,” says Jeff Miller, associate director for facilities management and member of the Recycling and Waste Committee, a subcommittee of Wesleyan’s Sustainable Advisory Group for Environmental Stewardship. “This may increase our recycling efforts significantly.”

Weekly measurements will be taken by contracted Dainty Rubbish Service of Middletown, which accurately weighs the recyclables and waste.

As in years past, Wesleyan competes in the Benchmark Division. Benchmark schools report their recycling and trash data, but are unregulated in how they choose to participate. Benchmark schools may choose to include only a segment of the campus (such as residence halls), they are not required to complete the certification module, and are not bound by the tracking and reporting standards.

Though Benchmark schools do not have their results included in the official rankings, they do have the ability to view their weekly progress in relation to other colleges and universities on their profile page.

Weight data will be recorded and collected weekly. With each week’s reports and rankings, participating schools watch how their results fluctuate against other schools and use this to rally their campus communities to reduce and recycle more.

Final rankings will be posted on March 29, two days after the competition ends.

Last year, Wesleyan placed second against other NESCAC schools in the cardboard category with 10.4 pounds per person; fourth in waste minimization (total waste and recycles) with 82.8 pounds per person; sixth in the paper recycling category with 7.2 pounds per person, and sixth overall among NESCAC schools as the grand champion for recycling 30.4 percent of its total waste.

Wesleyan also took fourth place for the Gorilla Prize, awarded to the total amount of recyclables regardless of population. Wesleyan collected a total of 77,920 pounds of recyclable material over the 10-week period.