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Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College
Photo Courtesy of Roanoke College

By Christy Blevins


For the next six weeks, classic college rivalries will break out into the recycling ring as over 390 colleges and universities compete in RecycleMania, a competition that encourages waste reduction and recycling on campuses nationwide.

Roanoke’s Recycling team picks up recycling twice every week on Wednesdays and Fridays. This is a normal routine throughout the year, but for eight weeks during the spring semester, Roanoke’s recycling is collected and counted, and then entered into RecycleMania.

RecycleMania is a fun competition for all university and College recycling programs which encourages recycling and waste reduction across campus. For the weeks of Feb. 1 to March 28, schools across the United States and Canada collect and report the amount of recycling each week in terms of pounds. These scores are collected and then the schools are ranked based on who recycles the most on a per capita basis along with a reporting of which schools have the best recycling rate.

This competition originally began in 2001 as a challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to motivate students to recycle. Since then it has grown to a national level and over 600 colleges and universities have competed for the recognition of Grand Champion.

For Roanoke College, this competition is not about winning, considering the small student body, but about motivating students to recycle and uphold the college’s “Green” attitude.  Each year Roanoke strives to raise their ranks from the year past and encourage students to see the importance of recycling.

The goal of RecycleMania is to not only motivate students to increase efforts in recycling, but also to generate attention and support for campuses recycling programs.

“We’re thrilled to expand the scope of RecycleMania for our fifteenth anniversary,” said RecycleMania, Inc. President Stacy Wheeler. “RecycleMania is about engaging students. It’s crucial to recognize schools that excel in inspiring individuals to take action, from composting an apple core to recycling a bottle.”

Last year, 2014, Roanoke entered four different categories in this competition. RC entered recycling counts into the per capita category, gorilla (all waste reduction combined), Paper, Cardboard, and bottles and cans. Roanoke ranked 244th out of 337 schools in the per capita category with 6.4 pounds per capita. However, the highest rank comes from the paper category with a rank of 72 out of 202 schools with a score of 3.6 pounds of paper recycled per person.

For the total competition of RecycleMania, all schools included 86 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials were recovered in 2014, which was reported to have prevented the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of removing 24,846 cars from the road for one year.

Roanoke’s first week of scores for 2015 will be posted on RecyleManiacs.org on Feb. 13 and students can follow updates each week from the website. For more information go to recyclemanias.org or contact RC Sustain.