We may be small, but we are a mighty university when it comes to our recycling efforts. Neumann University won first place in the Campus Race to Zero Waste small campus division competition for the Per Capita Recycling category.
The international program is a tool to advance campus recycling and waste reduction efforts and fosters friendly competition among colleges. Last year, Neumann placed 24th out of 118 participating schools. This year, 200 colleges and universities participated in the contest.
Neumann University was ranked second behind Loyola Marymount University (7,127 student enrollment) in the overall contest, regardless of the institution's size. NU logged 39.645 pounds of recycled material per capita.
"The university's success in this year's Campus Race to Zero Waste reinforced the student body's focus on the environmental impact we achieve through recycling," said Bill Leonard, director of facilities/operations and maintenance.
The program aims to help colleges and universities find pathways toward zero waste on campus. The primary goal is to increase awareness. The Per Capita category is designed for campuses interested in increasing their recycling rate through education and engagement strategies that can track progress.
In this category, colleges and universities compete for the largest amount of recycled paper, cardboard, bottles, and cans collected per person. The results are calculated by dividing recycling weight figures by the school's full-time equivalent student and staff populations.
According to contest officials, Campus Race to Zero kept 205 million single-use plastic out of landfills. In addition, participants prevented releasing 29,108 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere, which is equal to avoiding the annual emissions from 6,128 cars.
"Participating in the Campus Race to Zero Waste not only brought attention to the need and importance of recycling but reiterated that what our campus is doing and the changes we have made regarding recycling is impactful and working," said Jess Webster, executive director of events and conference services.
Race to Zero Waste was initially called "Recyclemania" when it launched in 2001. It started as a challenge between Ohio University and Miami University, and today the program has a partnership with the National Wildlife Federation.