Berkshire Community College (BCC) finished #1 in Massachusetts and #3 in the United States in the diversion category of the 2018 RecycleMania competition with a recycling rate of 80.9 percent. RecycleMania is the nation’s premier waste reduction and recycling competition among colleges and universities, managed by Keep America Beautiful. With a recycling rate of more than 94.8 percent, The College of Staten Island is the top school in the diversion category, while the Rhode Island School of Design finished first in the Per Capita Classic category.
This year marks BCC’s tenth year of participation in the annual RecycleMania competition. The college has improved its waste diversion rate by 42.79% since 2009, and has a goal of Zero Waste by the year 2020.
BCC's Green Team coordinates the college’s annual participation in RecycleMania as part of the team’s efforts to reduce the BCC’s carbon footprint, maintain sustainable practices, and coordinate these efforts with other colleges and institutions. Green Team members include volunteer faculty, staff, students, and some members of the community.
The 2018 tournament featured 300 schools participating from 46 states in the United States, the District of Columbia and Canada, with an enrollment of 3.6 million students.
Participating colleges and universities are ranked in various categories according to how much recycling and food waste they divert from the landfill over two months. Between the February 4 kickoff and the final recycling weigh-in on March 31, participating schools recycled or composted 68.6 million pounds of waste, preventing the release of 94,152 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to preventing the annual emissions from 20,160 cars.
Complete results for these and other categories can be found at http://recyclemania.org, including a breakout that shows how schools performed by athletic conference, institution size, state, and other groupings. The national winners of each category are recognized with an award made from recycled materials.
“RecycleMania participants are the next generation of recycling industry leaders and the work that they do during the competition is a springboard into their lifelong commitment to recycling,” said Stacy Wheeler, president of RecycleMania, Inc. “For eight weeks, these student groups dedicate their time to educate their campus on the importance of recycling and do so in an engaging, creative and resourceful way. In particular, the Campus Case Study competition showcases the different innovative ways college students think about and address today’s waste reduction issues. Every year it is very exciting to see the work done to advance recycling.”
“RecycleMania provides us with an opportunity to engage with college students around the importance or recycling and to encourage them to make the act of recycling a part of their daily routine,” said Helen Lowman, president and CEO, Keep America Beautiful. “Our goal with programs like RecycleMania is that these recycling behaviors stick with the participants throughout their lives and in turn, they educate their family and friends about the value of recycling and composting.”
An intriguing facet of the RecycleMania competition is the diversity of participating schools. Participants ranged from large universities such as Ohio State University and Texas Tech University to small private schools like Babson College, as well as a comprehensive academic medical center like the Medical University of South Carolina. The competition is made possible with the sponsorship support of Rubbermaid Commercial Products®.
“Rubbermaid Commercial Products is proud of College of Staten Island, RISD, Knox College and all the schools nationwide that participated in RecycleMania,” said Mark Jackmore, Vice President of Trade Marketing and Brand Activation, Rubbermaid Commercial Products. “We are deeply dedicated to developing products that make recycling easier in commercial environments. It’s very exciting to see diversion rates increasing, signifying the commitment these institutions and their students have made to recycling.”
Since the competition launched in 2001, millions of students at nearly 1,000 colleges and universities have recycled and composted over 960 million pounds of material during the tournament timeframe. Together, tournament participants have prevented the release of nearly 1.46 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is comparable to removing over 300,000 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.