Five American colleges and universities are testing new waste auditing technology for RecycleMania, an annual competition led by the National Wildlife Federation where schools across the US and Canada try to compost and recycle as much waste as possible. Last year participants recycled and composted 69.5 million pounds.
Agnes Scott College, Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Colgate University, and the University of New Haven will receive versions of waste audit technology from Rubicon to test during the competition. This technology should help each school measure and record their recycled material, according to the company, which provides waste and recycling software as service (SaaS) products for businesses and governments.
RecycleMania grew out of a rivalry between Ohio University and Miami University of Ohio. The two schools started the competition in 2001 as a way to motivate students to increase their recycling efforts. Since then, the annual competition has become a tool to help schools advance campus recycling and waste reduction.
Participating schools benchmark their efforts, and the ones with the best scores receive recognition in categories such as diversion, per capita recycling, and zero waste. Winning case studies get published on the competition website. Last year, the case studies presented solutions for food insecurity, residence hall composting, changing the throwaway mindset, and recycling bin placement.
In 2019, more than five million students, faculty, and staff from 300 campuses took part in the competition. More than 70% of school coordinators reported experiencing a noticeable increase in recycling during their RecycleMania participation, according to the competition organizers.
For the 2020 RecycleMania, all the schools are receiving recycling best practices, briefings and consulting, and sustainability methodologies from Rubicon. Currently there are colleges and universities from 43 US states and one Canadian province on the scoreboard.