Can SUNY Fredonia recapture the RecycleMania crown among its SUNY brethren?
That's the question that will be answered in the coming weeks as the campus embarks on its sixth year in the national tournament that challenges students, faculty and staff to reduce, reuse and recycle the most on-campus waste.
"The biggest thing we have to do is remind people just how much they can recycle," said Kevin Cloos, director of Facilities Services and a member of the campus Sustainability Committee, which is leading RecycleMania efforts.
SUNY Fredonia competes in the per-capita classic division, which challenges schools to generate the most pounds of recycled materials per person. Last year, SUNY Fredonia finished the eight-week campaign in 78th place among 338 colleges and universities in that division, recording 18.28 pounds per person, or about one pound less than Stony Brook University, which netted 19.26 pounds and earned 69th place.
By collecting nearly 147,260 pounds of recycled material last year, SUNY Fredonia generated a reduction of the equivalent of 130 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is comparable to taking 69 cars off the road for an entire year. SUNY Fredonia was the top "per capita" performer among the 10 SUNY comprehensive colleges and universities and two community colleges in 2011.
Other SUNY schools registered in this year's campaign include: New Paltz, Albany, Binghamton, Geneseo, Brockport, Oneonta, Empire State, Buffalo, Stony Brook, Onondaga Community College and Tompkins Cortland Community College. Overall, 38 New York schools are participating in RecycleMania.
"I think we can do better. This competition helps remind us that we need to do our part to recycle," Cloos said.
A large banner promoting RecycleMania will be hung on the pedestrian bridge adjacent to the Williams Center to help draw attention to the campaign. More than 120 recycling stations are spread all around the campus to encourage members of the campus community to pitch in and recycle their waste, Cloos said. "We try to make it as convenient as possible."
Participating schools submit weight data for paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, food waste and general trash each week, and are in turn able to see how much they measure up against other schools in the continuously updated results. RecycleMania runs parallel with the NCAA basketball tournament, concluding March 30. Final results will be announced Friday, April 12.
Casella Waste Services of Dunkirk serves as SUNY Fredonia's key RecycleMania partner during the campaign and throughout the year.
Last year, more than 600 colleges and universities recovered 92 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, which prevented the release of the equivalent of 150,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. This reduction in greenhouse gases is comparable to the annual emissions of more than 25,800 passenger cars.
RecycleMania is made possible with the sponsorship support of the Alcoa Foundation, the American Forest & Paper Association, the Coca-Cola Company and SCA. To learn more visit recyclemaniacs.org.