William & Mary

W&M's sustainability efforts earn RecycleMania recognition

  • RecycleMania:
    RecycleMania:  The annual tournament has students from colleges across the nation compete to maximize their campus’ recycling efforts while minimizing waste.  
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William & Mary took top honors in the state for composting and received recognition in several other sustainability-related categories in this year’s RecycleMania tournament.

RecycleMania is an annual event in which college students across the United States participate in an eight-week competition, from February through April, to maximize their campus’ recycling efforts while minimizing waste. William & Mary has participated every year since 2009.

This year, William & Mary’s efforts were led by Jason Zhang ’18 and Audrey Kriva ’17, student interns with the university’s sustainability office. Because of their work, William & Mary received honors in many categories statewide, even placing first in Food Service Organics.

Food Service Organics is a waste-composting contest, and William & Mary took the top spot in Virginia with an average of 10 pounds of food waste composted per person.

In the Per Capita Classic category, which is concerned with recycling collection, William & Mary placed second in the state, with an average of 22 pounds of recycling per person.

The Gorilla Prize is awarded to schools based on the amount of recycling they collect, without taking into consideration the student body size. In that cateorgy, the university earned second place statewide with 340,225 pounds of recycling collected.

William & Mary also placed second in Virginia in the category of E-Waste Collection, with a total of 7,059 pounds of recylable electronics collected.

Finally, William & Mary was awarded second place in Virginia for the Grand Champion category, which calculates the campus’s recycling to waste production ratio; the university had a diversion rate of 37 percent this year.

“RecycleMania is a great showcase for what students, faculty and staff are already doing to divert waste from the landfill, a time to try new things and an opportunity to recognize initiatives that are often functioning behind the scenes,” said Calandra Waters Lake, director of sustainability. “William & Mary was one of Virginia’s early leaders in composting, and dining services works hard everyday in the dining halls to ensure the success of such initiatives. We are really looking forward to piloting an expansion of the composting program next year and to making further strides toward sustainability.” 

Each year, RecycleMania, as a whole, reduces greenhouse gas emissions greatly. Due to its contributions, William & Mary’s reduced emissions between February and April were the equivalent of 80 cars off the road or the energy consumption of 35 households.

William & Mary has taken great lengths to improve its sustainability programs in the last few years, from dining services’ Choose-to-Reuse boxes to sustainability’s Recyclemania. More information about W&M’s sustainability efforts maybe found online.