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Recycling Numbers for 10th Annual Collegiate "RecycleMania" Competition

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
April 28, 2010

Forty-six, 59, 46. Those are UNH’s recycling numbers for 2010.

Out of 267 schools in the competition division (more than 600 registered overall but not all receive official rankings) of the annual RecycleMania challenge, UNH came in at 46 (39.34 percent) in the area of total percentage of waste reduction and recycling.

In the area of highest gross tonnage (called the gorilla division) regardless of school population, UNH was number 46 with 335,962 pounds. The per capita area measures the amount of recyclables per person. UNH ranked 59 with 20.18 pounds per person.

RecycleMania is a friendly 10-week contest among colleges and universities aimed at increasing recycling efforts while raising awareness among students, faculty and staff. Schools report their results weekly and, after a two-week trial period, the cumulative weight determines the winner. The numbers are posted weekly so schools can see how they are stacking up.

UNH came in at 17 in the targeted paper category, recycling almost 13 pounds (12.87) of paper per person. Recycling cans and bottles needs improving, however. Here, UNH was at 57 with only 2.63 pounds per person.

Food waste is another area where UNH could better its ranking, having placed 60th in recycling food scraps per person. That’s only 3 pounds per person compared to Johnson & Wales University where nearly 42 pounds of food is recycled per person.

“This means the UNH community still has some work to do in decreasing its overall waste,” said Michele Chapman, special projects coordinator at the Office of Sustainability.  “It’s wonderful that we’re doing such a good job of recycling, but the goal is to minimize what we’re adding to the waste stream, whether it’s being recycled or not.”

According to data released by Recyclemania, this year’s challenge resulted in the recycling of 84.5 million pounds of materials, which amounts to reducing the annual emissions from 23,850 passenger cars; electricity use of 15,140 homes; or the burning of 650 railcars’ worth of coal.

RecycleMania was started in 2001 between two schools, Miami University and Ohio University, when students at each decided to do something to increase recycling in the residence and dinning halls on their campuses. The competition is now a project of the College and University Recycling Council (CURC) governed by a steering committee comprised of six individuals.

For more information on recycling at UNH visit http://www.sustainableunh.unh.edu/faq.html#recycling

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