After a strong performance last year in the RecycleMania competition, St. Thomas is struggling to repeat similar numbers.
“I personally haven’t seen an increase,” said sophomore Lewis Segl, a recycling team member. “I know among students it’s not very popular. It’s just another flyer up.”
RecycleMania is an annual recycling competition that promotes waste reduction at colleges and universities. This is St. Thomas’ second year competing in the 10-week competition.
St. Thomas performed well last year in the grand champion division, placing first among all Minnesota schools and recycling 47 percent of all its waste. This year, St. Thomas is only recycling 25 percent, placing them in fourth behind Gustavus Adolphus, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and Macalester.
“We have done a few audits of our trash, and we know that at least 40 percent are recyclables that could be recycled,” Recycling Coordinator Bob Douglas said.
RecycleMania is an annual recycling competition that promotes waste reduction throughout colleges and universities. This is St. Thomas’ second year competing in the 10-week competition.
Douglas said St. Thomas joined after the Rev. Dennis Dease, university president, signed the President’s Climate Commitment in fall 2008.
Douglas said he hopes this competition will encourage students to recycle and will create a lasting effect.
“We are a large institution, and it’s easy to recycle, but raising that awareness to get people to simply put it in a different container, that’s a change in behavior, and behavioral changes are harder to modify,” Douglas said.
Recycling team members pick up recycling from each dorm. Segl said Ireland and Dowling halls have the high recycling rates and the recycling team sees less recycling from where upper-level students live.
“You guys do have your own kitchens, you do have your own refrigerators full of bottles and glass and cans. From all you guys, I feel we should be getting more,” Segl said.
Although recycling is a part of Segl’s job, he says this competition is motivating him to work harder.
“The more work we do, the better we’re going to do in the competition, so I’m going to do what I can, and so is everybody else,” Segl said.
Results are recorded every Friday until March 27 and can be found on the organization’s Web site.
Michael Ewen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.