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MUSC among top in national recycling
In its second year of competing nationally, MUSC has demonstrated how
serious it takes recycling by ranking in the top tier among 400
colleges and universities that participate in the annual RecycleMania
The categories of the increasingly stiff 10-week national competition
among colleges and universities include overall recycling, per capita
collection, cardboard or corrugated paper, paper and can collection,
and food and organics recycling.
Jason Metts, a
supply specialist in MUSC’s Engineering & Facilities, operates the
lift on a truck used to transfer tons of paper collected across campus
MUSC has placed as high as second in paper recycling, and it has placed
within the top 1 percent of most other categories in which it is
To encourage recycling, MUSC is now making it more convenient for
everyone to recycle by introducing bins for co-mingled plastic, glass
MUSC can credit the office led by Christine vonKolnitz Cooley, which is
dedicated to renewable and green efforts.
With the help of state grants used to add more equipment for recycling
use, Cooley and MUSC are expanding the program and spreading the
message that recycling is simply the right thing to do.
“We do have more recycling bins than ever before,” Cooley said. “We are
changing the cans program so that it will be easier for people to
recycle plastic, glass, and steel cans. I also think the fact that the
paper is being handled confidentially encourages people to recycle.”
It may be difficult to put a price tag on what MUSC gains financially
by recycling, Cooley explained.
“I do not think it’s the revenue that lures people to recycle. Revenue
comes and goes,” she said. “Recycling does not cost as much as garbage
collection, and we do get some money back for recycling.”
Avoiding waste and limiting the use of natural resources pays long-term
dividends, such as saving forests, landfill space, and ensuring a
healthier place to live and work.
As a community steward, MUSC’s efforts include a partnership with
Hartsville-based Sonoco, an international corrugated paper manufacturer
that buys the recycled paper from MUSC for commercial use.
“Sonoco has about seven or eight vendors they sell our paper to,”
Cooley said. “They sell to paper recycling facilities in the Southeast
first. If they have excess, they sell it to India. Shredded paper is
made into toilet paper or paper towels. Cardboard is made into more
cardboard or linerboard (similar to a file folder).”
MUSC is a member of the National Recycling Coalition, of which Cooley
is a steering committee member of its College and University Recycling
Council, as well as a member of Hospitals for a Healthy Environment,
and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher
Education. MUSC also has committed to the Environmental Protection
Agency's (EPA) WasteWise program, and recently signed the President’s
Climate Commitment (visit
RecycleMania began in 1992, using the incentive of competition among
colleges and universities, the traditionally large producers of
recyclable waste. Supported by EPA’s WasteWise, the program is a
coordinated project of National Recycling Coalitions College and
University Recycling Council.
The next round of competition is a 10-week period that began Jan. 27
and runs to April 5, in which participating schools will vie for
placement in categories that measure the success of their recycling and
waste prevention efforts. This year's 400 competing schools, the most
in the competition's history, represent 46 states and the District of
Columbia, and include institutions ranging from small, two-year
community colleges to Ivy League universities.
RecycleMania helps campus recycling coordinators rally students,
faculty and staff participation in recycling and waste prevention
programs, while offering bragging rights and special awards made of
recycled materials. Though many schools have had recycling and waste
prevention programs for years, studies have found that large volumes of
recyclables still end up in the trash. RecycleMania motivates campus
communities to recycle more often. By framing recycling into
competitive terms, RecycleMania taps into the same intercollegiate
spirit that drives sports rivalries.
Each week, the standings are posted online for all participants to see,
motivating campuses to work harder as they aim not only for the top
prizes, but also to beat out their own rival schools.
RecycleMania has tapped into Myspace and FaceBook as a way to encourage
participants to boost participation (see http://www.myspace.com/recyclemania
For more information, call (202) 903-0851, or e-mail
Friday, March 18, 2008
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