Starting this weekend, the PLNU campus community will participate in Recyclemania, a 10-week “friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities,” against 549 other colleges and universities around the the U.S. and Canada.
This year, participants will collect one day worth of PLNU’s trash, sort it, and determine what are the main “offenders” in term of waste production.
PLNU has competed in Recyclemania since 2006, actually winning first place that first year. In 2010, when participants performed the same trash audit they will perform this year, they found that over 30 percent of what was thrown away could have been recycled. Since the 2011 audit, more concerted efforts have been made to reduce the use of paper towels, coffee cups, and to-go containers. Just last year, a campaign to use less paper towels earned participants a free organically made hand towel and hand dryers were installs throughout campus restrooms. Bobby B’s Coffee Co. also now offers a discount for customers who use their own reusable mug for purchases.
“Recyclemania is a great time for PLNU to measure its diversion rate and find ways to reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill,” said Alexandria Bennett, PLNU sustainability coordinator. “A little competition (against other universities) always helps.”
During the competition, schools report recycling and trash data, which are then ranked according to amount of total recyclables collected and which schools have the least amount of trash or the highest rate of recycling.