National Initiative Focuses on Importance of Recycling

by Alana J. Mauger

For the fourth consecutive year, Montgomery County Community College will participate in RecycleMania, a 10-week nationwide contest during which colleges and universities compete to see who can reduce, reuse and recycle the most campus waste. The 2011 RecycleMania tournament runs through April 2.

Each week the College’s facilities team collects and weighs recyclable materials, including paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum and plastics #1 and 2, and enters the totals into the RecycleMania database. Based on the way in which its recyclables are collected and measured, the College is entered into the benchmarking category of the contest.

The spirit of friendly competition sparks huge environmental gains. The total amount of recyclables and organic materials recovered by 607 school across the country in 2010 added up to 84.5 million pounds of recyclables and compostable organics. This prevented the release of more than 137,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere.

Since signing the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment in 2007, Montgomery County Community College has put into place policies and procedures that reduce its carbon footprint. The College’s sustainability efforts are led by a team of faculty, staff, students, alumni and community residents who comprise the President’s Climate Commitment Advisory Council.

Some best-practices implemented to date include purchasing 100 percent of the College’s electricity from wind power; incorporating green building and design practices into new and renovated capital projects; piloting a shuttle program between campuses; providing hybrid and electric vehicles and bicycles for public safety officers; expanding campus recycling programs; using post-consumer paper and duplex printers for copying; and working with SEPTA to modify the bus route at the Central Campus to save 20,000 miles of travel annually.

The College also educates students and the community about sustainability through a faculty-driven lecture series on climate change and through Campus Sustainability Day and Earth Week activities.

To learn more about its Sustainability Initiative, visit the College’s “Think Green” blog at http://mc3green.wordpress.com.

The RecycleMania competition is administered by the National Recycling Coalition (NRC), with program development and planning by a steering committee made up of collegiate recycling managers from participating universities. The competition is managed in conjunction with NRC’s College and University Recycling Council (CURC) and is made possible with sponsorship support from The Coca-Cola Company and the U.S. Environmental Agency’s WasteWise program. For information on the national effort, visit www.recyclemaniacs.org.

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