'RecycleMania' Comes to SJU

Thursday, January 14, 2010

In an effort to bolster its sustainability movement, Saint Joseph’s University is taking part in its third RecycleMania competition. University officials hope that increased participation will raise SJU’s green profile.

According to its Web site, “RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.” The 10-week national competition will run from Jan. 17 through March 27 and will rank schools in categories including largest amount of recyclables per capita, least amount of trash per capita and highest recycling rate.

“We’ve done reasonably well in the past for a school that was relatively new to the competition,” said Howard R. Heim, director of Health, Safety and Environment and co-chair of the Sustainability Committee. “About 20 percent of our waste is recycled and I think that RecylceMania has played a large role in encouraging and increasing awareness for recycling.”

According to Heim, one of the main goals for this year’s RecylceMania competition is to build on past years' progress. “What we really want to see is continuous growth from year to year,” he said.

“We recycled 50 tons more last year than we did in 2008 and were up to 262 tons of recycled material for 2009,” said Mary Feeney, chair of the recycling working group of the Sustainability Committee.

Feeney said that the sustainability committee will look to build on that number by expanding its RecycleMania efforts for this year’s competition. “In previous years it has been geared mainly toward Residence Life, but we wanted to expand it to the entire university community including administrative and academic offices,” Feeney said.

Feeney said that the Sustainability Committee is planning many different ways to promote RecycleMania, including information tables in Campion during free periods and various perks and prizes for those who recycle.  The contest will even expand beyond offices and residence halls to include Aramark, which will begin offering discounts for staff who use their own mugs for coffee as opposed to disposable cups, and the campus book store, which will reward patrons who decline plastic bags at checkout by entering their names in a raffle.

“We’re also planning on rewarding the winning office and residence hall floor with sandwiches from Cosi,” Feeney said.

To keep the University updated on the progress of the effort, Feeney said that updated totals will be available on the sustainability committee’s Web site every week and will show how SJU compares to other colleges involved, including Villanova and Temple.

“There are little things that everyone can do to increase our recycling and minimize waste,” Feeney said.

--Tom Clark ‘10

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