Mar 042009
Authors: Erin Smith

CSU fell from sixth place in RecycleMania to ninth last week, halfway through the 10-week national recycling competition between more than 500 colleges and universities.

Last year CSU placed second in the contest behind Kalmazoo College and has never placed outside the top-10 in its four years of participation.

“There are always weeks we go down in recycling,” said Sheela Backen, operations manager of CSU’s Integrated Solid Waste program, but she could not speculate as to why rates were falling.

“We just need to recycle more and trash less,” she said.

The current leader is California State University at San Marcos, recycling 82 percent of their total wastestream, the equivalent of about seven pounds of recycling per person on its campus.

Recycling rates dipped at CSU during week five of the competition, Backen said, adding that CSU’s cumulative recycling rate fell from 56 percent to 52 percent.

Backen said that CSU will have the latest results from week six of the competition this Friday when they are posted on the RecycleMania Web site at Results will be posted there weekly until the challenge ends on March 28.

Allison Hall leads the residence halls in CSU’s internal housing competition with 23.4 pounds per resident, while University Village at 1500 West Plum is first place among university apartments with 26.81 pounds per resident.

The internal housing and university apartment rankings are measured in cumulative pounds recycled per resident from the beginning of the competition. Current standings are available on the Sustainability in Facilities Management Web site.

Nancy Venturato, the office manager at International Village, said the RecycleMania efforts in Apartment Life at CSU were very successful thus far.

“We’re doing better than the residence halls per capita,” Venturato said. “We felt really good about that.”

Venturato, who serves as a RecycleMania representative for Apartment Life said university apartments face some unique challenges in educating their tenants about recycling. Over 80 countries are represented in the six apartment buildings, each with their own level of experience.

“Some have more recycling, some have none. We always have a learning curve,” Venturato said.

A.J. Johnson, a junior business major, said he hadn’t heard of the competition, a fact he attributes to living off of campus.

“I recycle when I see a bin, and I recycle paper,” Johnson said, “but I didn’t know CSU was participating in any contest.”

CSU competes in both the Grand Champion and Waste Minimization categories of RecycleMania, which respectively measure cumulative recycling rate per capita and pounds of waste per person. CSU is currently ranked No. 17 in the Waste Minimization category.

Staff writer Erin Smith can be reached at

Residence Hall Competition rankings and pounds recycled per resident:

1. Allison – 23.4

2. Academic Village/Newsom – 20.73

3. Braiden – 17.74

4. Durward/Westfall – 17.6

5. Corbett/Parmalee – 15.21

6. Ingersoll – 10.63

7. Edwards/Summit – 6.44

University Apartment Competition rankings and pounds recycled per resident:

1. University Village 1500 W. Plum – 26.81

2. International House/Lory Apartments – 24.34

3. Aggie Village South – 19.51

4. University Village 1600 W. Plum – 19.25

5. Aggie Village North – 17.5

6. University Village 1700 W. Plum – 13.36

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