16:53 PM

Revered for Recycling: CSUSM Celebrates Seventh Consecutive Win

Contest officials for RecycleMania, an intercollegiate recycling competition, declared Cal State San Marcos the 2011 Grand Champion, marking the University’s seventh consecutive title victory. This year, CSUSM set an all-time record for the 10-week competition by achieving a 79.69 percent recycling rate.Created in 2001 by two rival universities, RecycleMania has grown into a nationwide competition that challenges more than 630 universities and colleges to reduce overall waste and increase recycling over a 10-week period. Cal State San Marcos has claimed the title of Grand Champion since first entering the competition in 2005. To earn the prestigious title, RecycleMania officials evaluate a university’s performance in two categories, the Per Capita Classic and Waste Minimization, to determine which campus demonstrates the greatest achievement in both source reduction and recycling.Now in its 11th year, the intercollegiate contest is continually raising the bar, making each victory as impressive as the last, explained Carl Hanson, coordinator of Recycling and Sustainability at CSUSM. Six years ago Cal State San Marcos won the competition with a modest 43 percent recycling rate, compared to this year’s win with a nearly 80 percent recycling rate. Setting a new competition record for highest recycling rate, CSUSM towered more than nine points above the second- and third-place universities. While on its way to victory, CSUSM defeated top Ivy League schools and distinguished universities, including Harvard, Rutgers, Georgetown, and Ohio State. Area universities, including San Diego State, University of San Diego and University of California San Diego, were also among this year’s participants.“We’re able to go toe-to-toe with universities that we typically would not compete against,” Hanson said. “From a global impact, these victories are incredibly meaningful.”As a result of the 10-week competition, which began January 23 and ended April 2, CSUSM recycled 40 pounds of material per person on campus, and diverted 50 pounds of waste per person. Collectively, RecycleMania’s 630 participating campuses recycled or composted an impressive 91 million pounds of material during this year’s contest.According to Hanson, one of the keys to CSUSM’s consecutive success has been the campus-wide effort to recycle paper, which is among the four categories measured by RecycleMania – paper, corrugated cardboard, bottles and cans, and organic food waste. With more than 150 recycling stations located on campus and a recycling bin attached to each office wastebasket, CSUSM continues to make recycling practical and convenient, not just during the 10-week challenge but all year round. “We’re building a framework and culture at CSUSM where recycling is simply second nature,” added Hanson. “We want to do all that we can to be environmentally conscious and continue to raise the bar each year as we encourage other universities to strive to do the same.”