Colorado State University is in sixth place in RecycleMania, a friendly 10-week recycling competition among colleges and universities across the nation. CSU has a cumulative recycling rate of 56 percent of the total waste generated on campus.
Last year, Colorado State placed second in the nation in the Grand Champion competition for RecycleMania, finishing with a cumulative recycling rate of 51 percent of the total waste generated on campus – up from 41 percent the previous year.
"If the campus community recycled at its full potential, the university’s recycling rate would be about 85 percent or higher and would save $21,275 in landfill fees," said Sheela Backen, facilities program manager.
Earlier this month, a RecycleMania kick-off event and trash audit held outside the Lory Student Center demonstrated that many recyclables still end up in the landfill.
Trash collected from several residence halls and campus buildings was dumped and sorted during the trash audit. During the event, 24 percent of the trash pile was found to be recyclable or reusable materials. The trash audit started with 3,000 pounds of trash; students ended up pulling out 717 pounds of recyclable materials. A breakdown: 300 pounds of paper; 97 pounds of cardboard; and 320 pounds of comingal (plastics, aluminum, tin and paperboard). If all those recyclables had made it to a recycling bin instead of the trash, the campus recycling rate could reach 85 percent.
The university offers single-stream recycling on campus which allows all recyclable items – from paper to cans to cardboard – to be placed in one recycling bin. For more information about single-stream recycling at Colorado State, visit http://www.today.colostate.edu/story.aspx?id=449.
During RecycleMania, campuses compete over a 10-week period in different contests to see which institution can collect the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita or feature the highest recycling rate.
The main goal of the event is to increase student awareness of campus recycling and waste minimization. All participating schools are required to report measurements in pounds on a weekly basis.
This year, 510 colleges and universities are participating, a 25 percent increase over 2008. More significantly, the list of schools represents, for the first time, all 50 United States. Also for the first time, the competition is joined by schools outside the United States, including five universities in Canada and the Rajarambapu Institute of Technology in Islampur in the Indian state of Maharashtra.
To learn more about CSU campus recycling and recyclable materials, visit www.facilities.colostate.edu.
To learn more about the RecycleMania competition, visit www.recyclemania.org.