Syracuse University is once again participating in RecycleMania, the eight-week national recycling and waste reduction competition in which colleges and universities across the United States and Canada are ranked each week based on their amount of collected recycling, food organics and trash. RecycleMania begins Sunday, Feb. 3.
In the spirit of the competition and to improve the University’s overall recycling efforts, Sustainability Management will be around campus in various locations to educate the campus community about what can and cannot be recycled. In addition to visibility in dining centers, Sustainability Management will be staffing information tables in Bird Library on Feb. 6 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and in the Milton Atrium in the Life Sciences Complex on Feb. 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Syracuse University traditionally is among the top Atlantic Coast Conference institutions involved in RecycleMania. Only the University of Pittsburgh and the University of North Carolina out-performed Syracuse in total recycling efforts last year.
For the second year in a row, in 2018, Syracuse ranked first in New York state in RecycleMania’s Total Recycling category. The University recycled 905,314 pounds of material, securing its national ranking of 14th out of the competing 229 college and universities in the category. Total Recycling recognizes institutions with highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard, and bottles and cans.
This year, Syracuse is competing in the Classic Tournament, which involves four main categories: the Stephan K Gaski Per Capita Classic, Diversion (formally Grand Champion), Total Recycling and Food Organics, all based on the weight of recyclables, trash and food organics. The University will submit actual weights, collected each week by Sustainability Management, to be ranked against the other competing institutions. The competition runs through March 30, and the results will be announced on April 16.
The Stephan K Gaski Per Capita Classic measures the weight of recyclables divided by the campus population. Last year, with 23.521 pounds recycled per person, the University ranked 34th in the country and third in New York state.
Last year, the University placed third among participating New York state institutions and 43rd nationally in the Diversion category—which combines trash, recyclables and food organics to determine the college/university’s recycling rate as a percentage of overall waste—and improved its diversion rate from 47 percent in 2017 to 48 percent in 2018.
The University also competes in the Food Organics category, placing 73rd last year with 18.82 pounds of organics per capita sent to the Onondaga Country Resource Recovery Agency’s compost site.
The 2018 tournament featured a total of 300 participating college and universities from 46 states, the District of Columbia and Canada with a combined enrollment of 3.6 million students. Some 68.6 million pounds of recyclables and food organics were recorded.
Syracuse University complies with the Onondaga County Source Separation Law and has on-campus recycling bins for mandatory recyclables, such as paper, cardboard and cans/bottles. The University also recycles specialized items, including batteries, electronics, polystyrene cold shipping boxes, fluorescent light bulbs, scrap metal, compostable yard waste and construction debris. In addition, campus dining centers compost pre- and post-consumer scraps and donate leftover food to the SU/ESF Food Recovery Network, a student movement that uses donated leftovers to reduce food waste while feeding those in need.
For more information on campus sustainability and recycling efforts, visit the SU Sustainability website, follow @SustainableSU on Twitter and Instagram, and check out the Syracuse University Sustainability Facebook page.
To learn more about RecycleMania, visit recyclemania.org/.