Compete to reduce: Recyclemania has begun

Krishna Ramanujan
Posters such as this one can be found across campus to promote sustainability th

The following is modified from an article by Krishna Ramanujan, Cornell Chronicle staff writer. The original article is at

Cornell’s participation in two national contests – one to recycle and compost campuswide, and another to conserve energy and water in residence halls – has begun.

The Compete to Reduce campaign includes Recyclemania, a competition between hundreds of U.S. and Canadian universities to see which can reduce its waste stream most by composting and recycling Feb. 5 to March 31. This competition is aided by the participation of faculty and staff members, as the waste from all buildings, including administrative and office spaces, are incorporated in the totals.

For Recyclemania, over an eight-week period, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week. They are ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most per capita, schools that have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste, and schools that generate the least amount of combined trash and recycling; trucks are weighed on scales.

Cornell competed in Recyclemania for the first time last year and came in 85th in the Per Capita Classic category out of 630 schools.

“Recyclemania helps engage people and provides a fun opportunity to raise awareness about recycling and composting,” said Spring Buck, operations manager at Cornell’s recycling and solid waste unit. Last summer, Buck led Cornell’s transition to single-stream recycling after the county began to combine all recyclable materials into one waste stream and no longer separated paper from other waste.

The other contest is Campus Conservation Nationals, a countrywide competition between and within schools to conserve the most water and energy; this year, Cornell will only compete internally, among buildings that house students, Feb. 6 to 26.