Over the next couple of weeks, the College will be participating in the national Recyclemania competition.
Recyclemania is a competition among colleges and universities to promote higher levels of recycling while tracking which schools recycle the highest percentage of their waste.
Held every year, the competition seems fierce as 600 schools attempt to beat out the rest of their peers by becoming the number one recycler.
This is the first time in two years that St. Mary’s will be participating. There are two different categories in which a school can participate: the competitive division, or the benchmark division.
This year, St. Mary’s will be participating in the benchmark division. “[Participating in the benchmark division] means we have to report our data, but we are not competing against other schools,” said Facilities Planner and Sustainability Coordinator Luke Mowbray.
“We can compare ourselves to others with less regulation.”
Recyclemania is just the first step to increasing the school’s recycling numbers. The College’s recycling rate from last year was around 40 percent of total waste produced.
The Sustainability Office is trying to increase this number to over 50 percent.
“This is a learning opportunity for us to see what works,” said Mowbray, “and this is a great opportunity for us to find ways to get students to recycle.”
The Sustainability Office has been working hard to organize this event and to find ways for students,
faculty, and staff to become involved with the program.
Lisa Neu ‘10, the Sustainability Fellow, has been working closely with many parts of the community to ensure success over the next few weeks.
“The most important part is to encourage students to recycle, and that is where we can get student clubs to help,” said Neu.
“We are trying to find ways for students to become more involved in the process.”
One of the ideas proposed was to have student volunteers go into the offices throughout campus, both faculty and staff, and recycle any old papers or office supplies.
Neu continued by saying that “this would help motivate student, staff, and faculty members to work together.”
Each week a report from St. Mary’s County sanitation workers will be sent to the College outlining how much recycling verses waste was collected.
“Weekly reports are a fantastic opportunity to show what steps can make a difference,” said Mowbray.
“We will be learning the things we ought to be doing and what works.” In the future, the Sustainability Office wants to move up into the competitive division; however problems relating to trash reporting are creating a short delay.
For the time being, the College will be learning how to better monitor the numbers while increasing both the total amount of recycling of the school and increasing community support.
However, the most important thing is “remembering to reuse over recycle,” said Mowbray.
Recyclemania will run for eight weeks starting Sunday Feb. 6 and ending Saturday, April 2.