In Castleton’s continuing quest to be green, the college has gone one step further in accepting the 10-week RecycleMania 2009 challenge.RecycleMania is a national program that, for almost a decade now, has been encouraging hundreds of colleges and universities to reduce their carbon footprint by both recycling more and staying informed about the many ecological advantages that recycling has over simply throwing away recyclable items.
Castleton professor Paul Derby, who has played a major role in spearheading the Green Campus Initiative that started in 2005, also lobbied hard to get Castleton involved with RecycleMania.
“It’s a chance for us to raise awareness about recycling on campus,” said Derby. “We have a very good recycling program, we’re known nationally for having a lot of participation by students, so this will only allow us to reinvigorate our program.”
Colleges and universities are often a target demographic of recycling campaigns due to the large amounts of waste generated and resources used by student communities. According to the Recyclemania website, the competition ranks schools according to “the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, [and] the highest recycling rate.”
In cohort with Derby and the RecycleMania challenge is Castleton president Dave Wolk, who also has been largely supportive of all of the college’s efforts to be more eco-friendly over the years.
“I signed the President’s Climate Commitment to call attention to our need to be green in every possible way, and RecycleMania will also increase awareness on and off campus,” said Wolk. “This is one of the many ways that Castleton can help change the culture, on and off campus.”
Castleton is one of 514 schools competing in RecycleMania 2009, but Derby said that half the battle has been learning how to appropriately calculate and record the college’s results.
“A lot of the colleges are figuring out how to get the information in there, and that’s where Castleton is at. We’re working with Casella Waste Management to get those numbers and enter them into the system,” said Derby.
The competition results are updated weekly with the top five schools who ranked in each of the eight measured categories, and currently, Castleton has not placed in any of the competitions. However, Area Coordinator Dan Gardner is confident that with more word of mouth, awareness, and cognizance of the system, Castleton has just as much of a chance as the other schools.
“Castleton has a great recycling program in place which would not be what it is without the continual strong support of the student body,” said Gardner. “If everyone gave a second thought about if what they were about to throw out was able to be recycled, I know Castleton will be able to out recycle our college rivals down the road.”
While he believes the competition aspect adds an additional incentive, Derby is more concerned with the beneficial impact that inevitably comes with being more environmentally conscious.
“Whether Castleton wins or not, things are still getting recycled, and that’s the important part,” said Derby.
For more information on RecycleMania, including participating schools and competition results thus far, visit their website at www.recyclemaniacs.org