RecycleMania 2013: SBU Ranks #1 in E-Waste Nationally!
by Sakib Ahmed
Stony Brook University excelled against the competition in this year's annual RecycleMania 2013 competition. RecycleMania is a nationwide contest between over 600 universities to recycle as much as possible and focus on waste minimization over an eight-week period, starting from early February to late March. Stony Brook tripled the quantity of e-waste compared to last year by recycling more than 120,300 pounds of materials, which beat the second highest competitor, Purdue University, by more than 5,000 pounds. In the competition's "Gorilla" category, which ranks colleges and universities by the total weight of recycled bottles, cans, cardboard and paper, Stony Brook finished first out of all SUNY's for the second consecutive year and 21st in the nation by recycling 526,733 pounds of material.
"We are very proud of our University community, including our Department of Recycling & Resource Management, Division of Information Technology and Stony Brook Medicine staff, who came together and highlighted our commitment to ‘live' sustainability," said James O'Connor, Director of Sustainability & Transportation Operations. "Through help from students, faculty and staff, we were able to continue our recycling success and minimize our environmental impact."
This year the campus came out in full force with a strong awareness and education campaign spearheaded by the Office of Sustainability. The programs conducted on campus include recycling pledges that helped students identify a wasteful practice and commit to reducing those behaviors. The Office of Sustainability student employees also partnered with Hall Councils and Residence Hall Directors in each quad to hold events called "Dorm Storming," where students held recycling programs to educate residential students on proper recycling practices. The Resident Assistants in each residential building also designed artful boards made completely out of recycled material to promote RecycleMania. The Office of Sustainability also held a photo contest where students sent in pictures of themselves recycling to win Wolfie Wallet dollars. "I learned a lot, especially how to dispose contaminated waste like pizza boxes and plastic food containers," said Kelly Quad resident Patrick Danton. "You have to tear off the contaminated portions, I never knew that."
Office of Sustainability student employee Tesia Moore believed this year was very successful but we can always continually improve, stating "We were excited to see all the students come out for our recycling programs, but there are still a lot of students who do not know about our unique recycling methods, like how to recycle plastics #1-7 and whether bottles can be recycled with their caps on. Hopefully next year we can reach more people and continue to increase our RecycleMania numbers."
The Office of Sustainability also provided complimentary recycling services to faculty and staff, which included confidential paper shredding, cardboard disposal as well as recycling receptacles for office spring cleaning.
Stony Brook University recycled a total of 91,960 pounds of bottles and cans, 100,332 pounds of cardboard and 334,441 pounds of paper during RecycleMania 2013. The University also recycled over 120,300 pounds of e-waste, which placed the University #1 in the quantity of e-waste recycled, among all Universities nationally. Stony Brook has also exponentially increased its recycling efforts and reduced the waste generated on campus. By participating in RecycleMania, the University reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 982 metric tons of CO2 equivalent, which equates to 192 cars off the road or the energy consumption of 85 households.
Mike Youdelman, the Manager of Recycling and Resource Management, was ecstatic with this year's performance by faculty, staff and students. "It was excellent to see our RecycleMania waste minimization numbers improve over last year's," said Youdelman. "Our ultimate goal is to manage our resources more efficiently with less waste going to landfills and less consumption of products." Stony Brook University continues to innovate its recycling efforts by focusing on making it easier for the community to recycle. This translates into more recycling receptacles, and increase in the quantity of products to recycling, better signage and more outreach.
For more information on RecycleMania 2013, please visit www.stonybrook.edu/recyclemania.
For more information on the RecycleMania competition, please visit:http://recyclemaniacs.org/
For more information on this initiative, please contact:
Stony Brook University
Office of Sustainability