Wartburg received national recognition in a contest to help promote waste reduction. “It’s creating awareness and that was really our goal with RecycleMania, just to create awareness this first year,” Anne Duncan, sustainability coordinator said.
Over 600 schools across the country participated in this year’s RecycleMania, which took place Feb. 5 through March 31. Duncan said Wartburg placed first in the most improved paper-recycling rate in the country and the school was awarded at $2,500 prize.
“That’s going to roll back around into getting containers to do something more so that we can accept, more recycling,” Duncan said. Wartburg also competed and placed in other categories like bottles and cans where they placed 66th and per capita recycling where they placed 77th.
Plastics and metals are measured by weight, paper is mostly measured by weight because the city picks up cardboard that is an estimated weight, Duncan said. She said because RecycleMania is a national program and is recognized by Keep America Beautiful and other big waste reduction programs, it is helping raise awareness about Wartburg’s sustainability program.
The Larrabee Center has contacted Duncan for help with their program.
“Wartburg wants to work with the community and help promote service and stewardship in our community so that was pretty cool,” Duncan said.
According to their website the overall goals for RecycleMania are to motivate students and staff to increase recycling, generate attention and support, encourage colleges to measure and benchmark recycling activity and to have a fair and friendly competition. Duncan said she plans on participating in this program next year because she wants to help students see how much they waste.
“Right now you throw your stuff in a dumpster and it goes away,” Duncan said. This was the reason the sustainability department held Mount Trashmore and piled a days worth of garbage in front of Old Main.
Hope VanZinderen is the president of EARTH and volunteered with Mount Trashmore. She said it is important for students to think about recycling and is excited about the award.
“I think it’s really great that such a small college as Wartburg placed as high as we did,” VanZinderen said. “I think it shows our students take recycling and sustainability issues seriously.”
HANNAH COX EDITOR-IN-CHIEF