Over the past few months, Raritan Valley Community College has competed with more than 390 colleges and universities nationwide in a tournament measured not in three-pointers or foul shots, but in pounds of material recycled and composted. The RecycleMania Tournament harnesses the competitive energy of sports rivalries to engage students in increasing recycling and waste reduction on campus.
For the first time, RVCC participated in the eight-week competition in which schools are ranked according to how much recycling, trash and food waste they collect. In February and March, competing schools recycled or composted 80.1 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of 129,411 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to preventing annual emissions from 25,375 cars.
Locally, RVCC recycled 26,056 lbs. of compostable organics, bottles, paper and cardboard, preventing the release of 42 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere. This is equivalent to taking eight cars off the road. Competing colleges and universities are ranked according to how much recycling, trash and food waste they collect over two months. RVCC ranked 17th out of 30 commuter schools in pounds of recycling per person and 5th out of 10 commuter schools in pounds of organics composted per person.
“The Raritan Valley Community College faculty really energized this effort by engaging students to study recycling across the College’s campus. They found that we have very high recycling rates, but some items like paper cups and bottle caps are contaminating our recycling,” said Sustainability & Energy Coordinator Sue Dorward.
RecycleMania also provided funding for two RVCC student interns, Dylan Simoncelli of Bethlehem Township and Jennifer Alaggio of Green Brook, who motivated their classmates to become involved in the competition. Their efforts were honored by RecycleMania with the Waste Reduction Case Study Award, which was granted for their Travelling Zero Waste Game.
RVCC also placed 2nd out of 74 schools for the new RecycleMania 3R (reducing, reusing and recycling) Actions social media competition. The College’s participants logged over 5,000 actions, placing 1st for mid-size schools in both the Recycle and Reuse phases of the competition.
RecycleMania is an independent program of RecycleMania, Inc., a non-profit composed of a board of directors who are professional college recycling and sustainability managers from across the country. Program management is provided by Keep America Beautiful with additional program support from the United States EPA’s WasteWise program and the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC). This year, RecycleMania partnered with National Wildlife Foundation’s Campus Ecology program, Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN) and myActions. For additional information, visit http://recyclemania.org.
The competition is made possible with the sponsorship support of Alcoa Foundation and The Coca-Cola Company.