Kent State recycles nearly half of a million pounds of trash for Recyclemania

Lauren Biertempfel

In eight weeks, Kent State recycled almost half of a million pounds of recyclables, putting the university in the top 12 percent of schools that competed in the Recyclemania competition that took place in February and March. 

Nearly 400 colleges and universities around the country participated in the national Recyclemania competition, where they recycled and composted more than 80 million pounds of recyclables, said Leah Graham, outreach and recycling coordinator for the Office of Sustainability.

Aside from participating in the competition at a national level, Kent State broke it down into a competition among residence halls.

Engleman Hall took first place, winning a $200 hall council party for having the highest diversion rate with an average of 62 percent in seven weeks, Graham said.

Graham said Stopher and Johnson halls took second place with an average diversion rate of 42 percent. The second place winner was awarded a tree planting, which took place outside of Stopher and Johnson residence halls on April 21. 

“We encouraged RAs and Hall Council through the building-wide emails to participate in Recyclemania,” said Meghan Miller, a residence hall director in Stopher and Johnson halls. 

Overall, Kent State took second place in the Mid-American Conference for the “Grand Champion,” “Per Capita Classic,” “Gorilla” and “Waste Minimization” categories, Graham said.  

“The Grand Champion competition measures your recycling rate, and the Per Capita Classic measures how many pounds you recycle based on the campus population,” Graham said. “The Gorilla competition measures the total pounds recycled over the eight week period, and the Waste Minimization measures how much waste and trash is recycled per person.”

The E-Cycle Mania category had a two-day event in March on campus where students and the community could bring old electronics to recycle. Kent State came in eighth place in the Large Schools category by recycling a total of 9,781 pounds of electronic waste, Graham said. 

The first year Kent State hosted the e-cycle drive, there was a large turnout, said Melanie Knowles, manager of sustainability at the Office of Sustainability. There are a lot more places now where people can recycle electronics, and Kent State still had a good turnout this year, she said. 

“The most impressive thing, to me, is that we continue to improve our recycling year after year,” Knowles said. “To go from where we were last year is a nice jump, and we are really proud of all the initiative taken on campus.” 

In addition to placing second in four competitions in the MAC division, Kent State also beat Akron in the annual head-to-head recycling competition.

 Contact Lauren Biertempfel at [email protected].