GW improves in recycling contest

The University improved this year in every category of an annual government-sponsored recycling contest, according to the program’s results announced earlier this month.

Recyclemania, a contest sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency that runs each year for 10 weeks, is designed to encourage recycling at universities and colleges across the country. GW saw an improvement over last year in each category – pounds of recycling per person, pounds of total waste per person and total tonnage of recycled waste.

GW’s best showing came in the Gorilla Prize category, which totals the gross amount of waste an institution recycles. In that area, GW finished 34th out of 293 competing schools.

Samantha McGovern, GW’s project coordinator for Recyclemania, attributed this year’s success to the student body.

“Students are generally more engaged in sustainable activity on campus,” McGovern said, adding that unlike years past, students now come to GW with more knowledge about how to recycle.

In the last week of the competition, GW’s recycling rate – a measurement of how much total waste was recycled compared to how much total waste was generated – was 52 percent, indicating that more than half of total waste was recycled.

McGovern said the University has geared its recycling focus toward teaching the community how to recycle in the system the University uses.

This year, Recyclemania promotions ranged from halftime shows at basketball games to a “waste sort” where program leaders went through garbage cans and sorted out what could have been recycled.

Much of the campaign, McGovern added, has been focused on dispelling a rumor on campus: that GW does not recycle.

“We need to be getting past these myths,” she said.

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