Emerson contending for most improved in RecycleMania



By Belen Dumont, News Editor

Eco-Rep Lauren Hardt instructs students to put food in compost bins. Photo: Chris Van Buskirk /  Beacon Staff

Emerson could potentially win most-improved in the annual RecycleMania competition, a nationwide recycling event between colleges and universities to promote sustainable waste habits, Sustainability Coordinator Amy Elvidge said.

The tournament ranks schools in three possible categories based on their use of recyclables, food, and trash. The most-improved category allows schools to compete against their previous year’s Per Capita score, which is calculated by dividing the total weight of the school’s recyclables by the school’s student and staff population. The school with the highest percentage increase from their previous year’s score wins.

Last year, Emerson ranked 111 out of 244 schools in the Per Capita category, and in 2016 the college ranked 144 out of 269 schools.

RecycleMania will announce this year’s final category rankings on April 16.

Members of environmental activism organization Earth Emerson and Eco-Reps kicked off the eight-week-long national competition on Feb. 13 by replacing trash cans in the Dining Center and Center Stage with clear buckets, forcing students to visualize how much food they waste, Eco-Rep Lauren Hardt said.

By the end of the day, the waste came to a total of 73 pounds, the equivalent of about 20 meals, Hardt said.

Elvidge said she hopes students and staff will take advantage of various planned events, like the Residential Hall Competition and Office Recycling Competition because improving sustainability is a group effort. More information about the March events can be found on the school’s RecycleMania page.

“There’s a lot of people that have the opportunity to participate—students, staff, and faculty,” Elvidge said. “You can pledge to recycle [or] participate in one of the competitions. There are a lot of ways to get involved.”

The two-month-long competition will end with an art showcase and fashion swap featuring items created from discarded objects and materials on March 29. Anyone can enter the competition and all newly created clothing items must be wearable but can be constructed from common materials like cardboard to more non-traditional materials like electronics. College staff and faculty will judge entries.