The results are in for this year’s RecycleMania competition, and the University of Notre Dame has once again improved its rankings from last year, finishing in the top 25%. The competition, which encourages schools across the country to compete to improve campus recycling practices, tracks campus recycling in various categories. In the Grand Champion category, which tracks recycling as a percentage of total waste, Notre Dame repeated last year’s performance, finishing 63rd out of 256 with a recycling rate of 37.58%. Notre Dame improved its ranking in the Gorilla category, which tracks the bulk volume of recycling, finishing 40th out of 336 participants. With an increase to 171 tons this year from 136 tons in 2013, the University increased its bulk recycling output by 25%.
What accounts for the marked improvement in this year’s standings? Max Ducey, the recycling intern at the Office of Sustainability noted, “An increased focus on our Spring Game Day recycling program definitely helped our performance in the competition.“ The Spring Game Day recycling program, which is in its second year, focuses on raising recycling awareness at spring sporting events by positioning volunteers and signage around trash and recycling receptacles. “We focused on Basketball and Hockey games in the second year of our Spring Game Day program” said Erin Hafner, the Office of Sustainability’s Senior Program Manager. Last year the program only focused on one spring basketball game, whereas this year’s program included one hockey game and five basketball games. “We hope to improve our presence at spring sports’ games next year” added Hafner.
In addition to the increased presence at spring sporting events, the Office of Sustainability focused on raising student awareness of RecycleMania by creating a scoreboard display in South Dining Hall, showing Notre Dame’s standings compared to other universities. “Every year we work to increase student involvement in the competition through publicity and volunteer opportunities, and every year we see our results improve” said Ducey. The momentum from this year’s competition will be carried into 2015 with increased publicity campaigns and greater presence at spring sporting events.