RecycleMania, the annual college and university recycling competition that promotes waste reduction, starts this week and continues through March.

recyclemania2010Competing schools across the nation will report their recycling and trash data, which will be reported weekly on RecycleMania’s Results Web page. The schools are ranked according to which collects the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, and which has the highest recycling and waste diversion rate. With each week’s rankings, participating schools watch their results fluctuate against other schools and find out which really has a sustainable campus.

UST participated for the first time in 2009 and surprised a number of other schools with its results; overall, St. Thomas was second in Minnesota in the Grand Champion division, first in Minnesota in waste minimization, and second for the Minnesota Gorilla prize (behind the U of M) for the highest gross tonnage of recyclables regardless of campus population.

Bob Douglas, coordinator of recycling, believes UST can improve in 2010. Audits of UST trash have shown that more than 40 percent of what is “thrown away” could have been put into one of the 1,000 recycling containers located across the campus. Hauling the trash away is expensive; recycling saves and puts money back into the general funds.

View here what is recycled at St. Thomas. Watch for fun and rewarding promotional RecycleMania events, coordinated with SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise).

Questions? E-mail Douglas, or Bridget Kapler, chair of the USG Sustainability Committee.