Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence have won the 2017 RecycleMania competition for colleges and universities.
With a recycling rate of more than 83.9 percent, Loyola Marymount was the top school in the diversion category; the Rhode Island School of Design was first in the per capita classic category.
The 2017 tournament featured 320 schools participating from 46 states in the United States, the District of Columbia and Canada; together, those schools have an enrollment of 4.1 million students. RecycleMania is a waste reduction and recycling competition managed by Keep America Beautiful.
Participating colleges and universities compete in various categories according to how much recycling and food waste they divert from the landfill over two months. Between Feb. 5 and April 1, the schools recycled or composted 69.9 million pounds of waste, preventing the release of 77,791 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere. That equates to the annual emissions from 16,400 cars.
“RecycleMania participants continuously demonstrate their commitment to finding innovations in recycling and new ways to reduce waste,” says Stacy Wheeler, president of RecycleMania, Inc. “What students do on their campuses now will influence their lifelong recycling habits. They are the next generation of recycling leaders who will ultimately address some of the planet's most pressing challenges.”
A new category in the 2017 competition, Race to Zero Waste, focuses on efforts to reduce the amount of waste generated in the first place. The inaugural winner is Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., which generated less than 0.0075 pounds of waste total (trash + recycling + organics) per 1,000 square feet. in the campus library over a month-long period.
In the “Game Day: Basketball” category, Ohio University recycled or composted more than 95 percent of the waste generated during a home basketball game versus Bowling Green State University.
Since the competition launched in 2001, millions of students at nearly 800 colleges and universities have recycled and composted more than 890 million pounds of material during the tournament timeframe. Together, tournament participants have prevented the release of nearly 2.37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is comparable to removing more than 500,000 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.