Lawrence ranks 9th, 194th in Recyclemania competition – als eek

Maija Anstine

Results were released this week for the 2010 Recyclemania competition. Lawrence ranked ninth in the Per Capita Classic division and 194th in the “Waste Minimization” category.
346 schools from the United States, Canada and the United Arab Emirates competed in the Per Capita Classic division, and 199 competed in “Waste Minimization.”
These results are based both on how much total waste schools produced in the period from January 17 to March 27 and on the percentage of that waste that was recyclable. Lawrence produced 246,173 pounds of waste, 114,990 pounds of which was recyclable.
Brit Oleson, president of Greenfire, has been “the main driving force behind [the initiative],” according to Assistant Dean of Students for Campus Life Curt Lauderdale. Oleson was in contact with Lawrence University Waste Management to get accurate numbers sent in to Recyclemania, and she worked to promote the initiative along with other members of Greenfire, Grassroots and campus life.
Oleson said she likes the “competitive edge” that Recyclemania offers by pitting schools against each other. “We want to do this year after year,” she said.
Oleson also said that she is pleased with the results, especially considering that 2010 is the first year that Lawrence has competed in the competition. “We didn’t know what to expect or how to promote,” she noted.
Oleson also discussed the staggering amount of waste that the Lawrence campus produces. Lawrence’s poor performance in the waste minimization category could be due in part to dining services, according to Oleson.
“There are so many disposable things in the caf****e acute****” she explained, “So even if you sit and eat a salad, you’re using a plastic container.” Oleson noted that Bon App****e acute****tit alone produces 600 to 800 pounds of cardboard per week.
“The easier you make recycling, the more people do it,” explained Oleson. She hopes for improvement in future years by placing more clearly labeled recycling bins around campus, especially in the caf****e acute****. “It would be nice to see more administrative involvement in the future,” she added.
“Publicity was our big issue, definitely,” explained Oleson, noting how many students are unaware that Lawrence now recycles all numbered plastics, and uses single-stream recycling. But she hopes that the results from Recyclemania will help to make recycling more important to many students. “Just getting the numbers is very valuable,” she explained.
Greenfire will make a push toward recycling after Earth Day planning is over after this weekend, explained Oleson.
Lauderdale, who has previously worked at schools where Recyclemania is popular, initially presented the idea of participation in the competition to Professor Jeff Clark.
Lauderdale thought the competition would be a perfect fit for Lawrence students who are “environmentally conscious and hard-working” and was happy that the effort was primarily student-based.