RecycleMania Yields Large Results for Office of Sustainability

The mania is over and results are being calculated for Mary Baldwin’s efforts in the nationwide competition RecycleMania.

After two months of continuous collecting Mary Baldwin obtained 9,700 pounds of recyclable material and 28,500 pounds of trash.

Sustainability coordinator Samuel Stoner, who supervised the event, is satisfied with the end results.

“I think the competition brought an awareness to the campus,” Stoner. “We also got a better sense about how we are doing with our recycling efforts as a campus.”

Nationwide results have not been calculated yet; however, as far standings go Mary Baldwin is ahead of the University of Virginia in the diversion category, in which the total amount of trash collected is divided by the amount of recyclable materials.

Recycling efforts on MBU’s main campus.

Whereas, in the per capita category the total amount of trash collected is divided by the number of students on the campus. Using that measurement, MBU is ranked 98 out of 230 schools.

In Virginia, 13 colleges and universities competed; Mary Baldwin is ranked seventh. Nationwide, Mary Baldwin is currently ranked 122 out of 179 total schools.

Mary Baldwin also participated in RecyleMania in 2012 and 2013, collecting a combined total of 24,200 pounds of waste both years.

Stoner believes social media efforts by the office of sustainability helped make the competition a successful. Weekly videos and social media posts reminded the campus community to focus on going green, and encouraged participation in the friendly competition.

Last week Stoner and Director of Facilities Management Brent Douglass traveled to a factory in Fluvanna County, where all the recycled items from MBU are shipped. Stoner noted that it was unique to see the recycled items actually being processed at their next stage.

“I hope to go tour the factory again and take students so they can see the process also,” Stoner said.

In the next few weeks, the office of sustainability is planning a public waste audit that will take place in front of Grafton Library. A large tarp will be laid out in front of Grafton and trash from the dorms that has been collected for over two weeks will be sorted according to their recyclability.

“I think this will be a great chance for students to see things they may not have even known were recyclable,” Stoner said. “This will be to give students a visual representation that will leave an impact.”

No prizes of any sort are given out at the end of the competition; rather participating schools achieve a sense of accomplishment and the knowledge of helping to make the earth a cleaner place. Self-branded as a fair and friendly competition, RecycleMania encourages spirited, but ethical competitiveness. All weight totals that were submitted in the two month period are done so on an honor system. The final official rankings for RecycleMania will be publicized in mid-April.