Universities and colleges participating in RecycleMania this year recycled or composted 80.1 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, according to results from the annual program.
In all 394 schools, accounting for 4.5 million students, in 49 states and Canada participated in the program, according to a news release. Participation represented nearly one in five U.S. college students.
For the second year in a row, Washington’s small Antioch University Seattle won the contest, with just 4 percent of the waste generated on campus ending up in the trash, and the other 96 percent being composted or recycled.
Stamford, Conn.-based Keep America Beautiful (KAB) manages RecycleMania, the annual competition ranking schools by how much recycling, garbage and food waste they collect in two months.
This year’s competition included a new feature, the 3R Actions Challenge, which encourages students not only to reduce, reuse and recycle but also share those actions via text, Twitter or a mobile app.
In addition to Antioch repeating Grand Champion, Loyola Marymount University won the Per Capita Classic (total pounds of recyclables per person) at 73.9 pounds. North Lake College won the Waste Minimization category (least overall waste per person) at 3.3 pounds.
“RecycleMania took the competition to a new level in our 15th anniversary year,” said Stacy Wheeler, president and co-founder of RecycleMania Inc. “We are thrilled with the increased engagement around waste reduction and recycling spurred by 3R Actions, the new digital and social component of the RecycleMania Tournament.”
The total amount of waste recycled for Recyclemania and the number of schools this year actually fell from last year. In the 2014 campaign students recycled or composted 89.1 million pounds of recyclables and organic material, representing 461 schools and more than 5.3 million students.
The Alcoa Foundation and Coca-Cola Co. both have been strong corporate supporters of the program. In 2013 Alcoa, KAB and the College & University Recycling Coalition partnered to provide more than 11,500 recycling bins to 35 colleges and universities in the United States. The New York-based Alcoa Foundation said the recycling bins will help expand on-campus recycling programs and raise awareness about recycling’s environmental impact.