The final results from Recyclemania are in. For those of you who haven’t been following the blog, Recyclemania is a nationwide recycling competition with 605 participating colleges and universities. Haverford ended up 26th out of 320 schools in the Per Capita recycling division, while it finished 170th out of 605 in the Grand Champion division, which measures the percent of total waste recycled. If you are interested, the final results can be found here.
While I originally praised our recycling efforts, I am not so sure that our high ranking in the per capita classic is such a good thing. In fact, our high ranking seems to show that that we use more disposable items than most colleges. Moreover, according to the grand champion data, we recycle approximately 25% of our total waste. American University, the winner of the grand champion division, recycles 85% of their total waste.
There are some valuable lessons to learn from these results. First, we need to consume less. Our per capita recycling is high because we use a lot of items that we then throw in the recycling. While this impulse is a good one, we need to focus more of our energy on reducing and reusing. Recycling should be a last resort. Second, we need to recycle more and throw out less. If other colleges can recycle a majority of their total waste, we can too.
In the end, recyclemania has served its purpose. It shows us where we need to improve to make our campus for eco-friendly. Thoughts on how we can make this happen?