AU is participating in RecycleMania, a 10-week national competition between universities to promote on-campus waste reduction and recycling, from Feb. 6 to April 2.
Last year, AU took third place out of 266 schools in the competition with a cumulative recycling rate of 64.9 percent. It was AU’s first year in the contest.
AU’s recycling rate was the highest for all participating D.C. universities last year. Georgetown University came in second with 42.5 percent, and the Catholic University of America came in third with 33.2 percent.
“It’s really important to get students engaged in green efforts,” said Sophia Benedicktus, assistant director of operations for Housing and Dining Programs. “They are tomorrow’s leaders and I don’t think they understand changes now can lead their lives.”
Benedicktus started AU’s participation in RecycleMania last year after the school showed interest in furthering environmentally friendly practices.
The University aims to change the habits and behaviors of students, faculty and staff through the competition, according to Benedicktus.
This year, 630 schools across the country are competing. The competition ranks schools based on the amount recycled per capita, the total amount recycled and other recycling rates.
Students are encouraged to recycle as much as possible.
In addition to the inter-university competition, AU will have its own recycling contest between North side, South side and Tenley Campus residence halls.
Last year, North side came in first place with 10.75 recycled pounds per capita, followed by South side with 8.66 pounds per capita and Tenley Campus with 3.93 pounds per capita, according to Benedicktus.
AU is currently doing an in-house pilot program to send the University’s recycling to World Recycling Company, according to Mark Feist, assistant director of Grounds Operations.
Through the program, AU sends their cardboard, paper, plastic, glass and aluminum to WRC and is awarded a full rebate for paper and cardboard recyclables, depending on their daily value.
All rebate funds go to the Facilities Management waste and recycling budget.
“While AU does receive some rebates from our recycling, we have large costs associated with labor and transportation when dealing with trash and recycling,” Feist said in an e-mail. “So while the rebate does supplement costs, we pay out a tremendous amount more than what we get back in order for AU to reduce landfill costs and be environmentally responsible.”