Recyclemania started in 2001 as a friendly competition between Ohio University and Miami University to see which of the two schools could recycle more. Since then, the contest has boomed into a massive project that involves contestants from over 300 universities across the U.S. and Canada. Run by Recyclemania Inc. in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation, the eight-week long spring competition has had over a thousand schools participate in total. In 2018, around 3.6 million students recycled and composted 68.6 million pounds of waste, which, according to Recyclemania’s website, is the equivalent of 20,160 cars worth of saved CO2 emissions. Schools from 46 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Canada participated last year.
COURTESY OF RECYCLEMANIA
According to the leaderboards on Recyclemania’s website, Drew currently ranks fourth in the nation under the per-capita classification, with 48.5 lbs per capita. In New Jersey, Drew sits first overall in the same category, topping big name schools like Stevens (24) and Rutgers (45). Currently in the overall lead is the California State University Maritime Academy with 78.6 lbs per capita.
The students in charge of Drew’s effort this year are Kyra Jean Cipolla ('19), an Environmental Science and Sustainability major, and Tessa Godbout ('20), a Theatre Arts major; both serve as the Head Eco-Reps for the Office of Sustainability, which coordinates Drew’s yearly efforts.
On her thoughts on this year’s Recyclemania Cipolla said, “Drew has been doing exceptionally well this competition compared to past years.” Cipolla said, “[Their overall goal is], as always, to win first in New Jersey and get as high as we can in the overall competition.”
As to the importance of recycling, Natalie Zucca (’21), the Eco-Rep for the Holloway and Welch complex, said, “I think it's really important for students to be engaged and aware of the importance of recycling.”
“The Office of Sustainability and the Eco-reps hold recycling and waste minimization as main priorities,” said Cipolla in response to the same question. “That is why we host documentary screenings on the dangers of plastic pollution, hold informational but entertaining events in [residence] halls and keep Drew updated with electronic and physical postings to recycle properly.”
Concluding, Cipolla said, “[The] Eco-Reps always lead with mottos like ‘Every act, multiplied by millions, can change the world,’ in order to remind students that when they chose to Skip the Straw or Ban the Bottle, they make a difference.”
With results scheduled to be posted in two weeks, Drew and the Eco-Reps hope to sustain their current in-state dominance and perhaps even take the national number one spot.
Next on the docket for the Eco-Reps and the Sustainability Office are events including The New Jersey Tree Recovery Campaign on April 26, during which saplings are given to members of the community to plant on their property. The give away, in which Drew will serve as a distribution site, is staffed by members of the student sustainability team and Civic Scholars.
Also occurring in the next few weeks is Drew It In The Dark, a two-week long competition from March 22 to April 6, during which all residence halls will compete to see which building can use the least amount of energy.