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Bard College Competes with Hundreds of College Campuses in The United States And Canada in RecycleMania

Ten-Week Recycling Competition Promotes Awareness of Campus Recycling Programs, Encouraging Students, Faculty, and Staff to Recycle and Reuse

Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—With a variety of contests, posters, and videos geared toward encouraging recycling and reuse and discouraging waste, the Bard College campus is entering the final weeks of RecycleMania, a ten-week competition across the United States and Canada to see who can reduce, reuse, and recycle the most on-campus waste. This is Bard’s fourth year participating in the contest. Bard is the defending national champion in the food service organics division, which indicates the success of the college’s composting program for food scraps collected in dining halls and dorms.

Beginning in mid-January and concluding during the NCAA basketball tournament, RecycleMania offers colleges and universities the opportunity to take part in an exciting competition that increases recycling participation by students and staff and raises awareness about the significance of waste reduction programs on campuses. This year, more than 600 schools representing 49 states, the District of Columbia. and Canada are competing in eight categories to see who recycles the most on a per capita basis, who produces the least amount of waste, and who recycles the largest percentage of their overall waste stream. By submitting weight data for paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, food waste, and general trash each week, Colleges and universities and are in turn able to see how they measure up against one another in the continuously updated results.

Bard’s Environmental Resources Auditor Laurie Husted, who organizes the campus’s RecycleMania efforts, notices an increase the number of artists supporting this year’s effort on campus—via a mural in the campus center, posters, a video, and other efforts.

She has also noticed a jump in the number of students and staff getting Caught Green Handed, a contest whereby various stakeholders on campus hand out green postcards to anyone seen recycling, reusing, or otherwise making some effort to reduce waste, such as using a reusable mug or tote, recycling or reusing materials, or asking for a china plate instead of disposable plates. Those who receive green cards may enter drawings for a chance to win coupons at local businesses. “I've been really pleased with the number of people in the Caught Green Handed raffle this year,” said Husted. “Each day my mailbox is full of green cards, which means people all over campus are making sustainable choices. Next year we’ll have to solicit more prizes from local businesses to keep up with the demand.”

“RecycleMania’s success comes from its ability to use competitive spirit and campus rivalries to motivate students who are less likely to respond to ‘save the earth’ kinds of messages,” according to Stacy Wheeler, cofounder of the RecycleMania competition. During the 2009 contest, 510 participating colleges and universities collected over 69.4 million pounds of recyclables and compostable organics. This prevented the release of 88,739 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere.

Husted stressed that Bard’s waste reduction and recycling efforts are a year-round effort. With the goal to reduce, reuse, and recycle, the Bard Environmental Resources Department (BERD) administers the college’s waste reduction and recycling efforts, including running a free-use thrift store for items such as clothing, dishes, and office supplies, which are donated throughout the campus. For more information about BERD and the college’s recycling programs, policies, and guidelines, visit or contact Laurie Husted at 845-758-7180 or For more information about RecycleMania, including participating schools and updated results from this year’s contest, visit

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This event was last updated on 03-15-2010