College Set to Compete in RecycleMania 2011
By Sarah Ashman '14, News Section Editor
Starting Feb. 6, the College will have the opportunity to show up rival schools in yet another arena: recycling. This coming Monday marks the beginning of RecycleMania 2011, an eight-week contest in which over 340 colleges from all over the United States compete to see who can recycle the most material per person.

While RecycleMania’s competitive nature is meant to incentivize recycling for students who might not recycle for environmental reasons, this contest is not ultimately about winning. RecycleMania is about maximizing the amount recycling on campus, while at the same time minimizing the amount of trash that students generate.

In RecycleMania 2009, the College alone recycled 225 tons of cardboard, paper, bottles and cans instead of burying them in a landfill — resulting in a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to taking 100 passenger cars off the road for a year. Multiply these kinds of results by the 340 other participating campuses, and RecycleMania’s brings a significant numerical impact on the reduction of campuses’ carbon footprints.

Over the next eight weeks, the College will submit a weekly report, which quantifies the amount of recycling that has taken place on campus in two ways: per capita, or how much is recycled per person, and the overall percentage of recycled material, a number that tends to put recycling efforts into a greater context. Last year, the College placed third among NESCAC schools in the percent recycled category and fourth among NESCAC schools in the per capita recycling category.

Now a nation-wide competition, RecycleMania had its beginnings right here in the Five College area.

“Back in the 1990s, I took the recycling comparison system that I had developed for the Five Colleges and adapted it for the National Recycling Coalition’s College and University Recycling Council,” said Five College Recycling Manager Roger Guzowski. “I also ran a regional campus recycling conference series for the National Recycling Coalition where I did several presentations about how to do campus comparisons. Two of those presentations included Ed Newman from Ohio University and Steve Gaski at Miami of Ohio University. I helped to show Ed and Steve how they could adapt the CURC standards for their competition. The next year, they did so, and started RecycleMania, which has grown into a national competition.”

Guzowski expresses a few reservations about the national aspect of the competition, noting that RecycleMania “is designed primarily to encourage participation among a variety of schools and secondarily to generate accurate data.” In comparing so many different types of schools, all with their own recycling systems, he admits that there are “some inherent issues when trying to fairly and accurately compare all of the different types of schools.”

Nevertheless, Guzowski is optimistic about ReycleMania, especially as far as the College is concerned.

“Most of the other NESCAC schools also compete,” Guzowski said. “They are very similar to Amherst logistically, which makes for a pretty fair comparison. We also have some natural competition with them, and that maximizes the value of the RecycleMania competition for us.”

The College’s weekly recycling totals, as well as further information regarding RecycleMania can be found at

Issue 13, Submitted 2011-02-02 03:30:55