RecycleMania wraps up, Baylor looks to improve recycling

Photo illustration of students recycling. Monica Lake | Lariat Photographer

Photo illustration of students recycling. Monica Lake | Lariat Photographer
Photo illustration of students recycling.
Monica Lake | Lariat Photographer
Kara Blomquist

It’s official. The results of RecycleMania are in.

RecycleMania is an eight-week recycling competition between colleges in the United States and Canada, according to the tournament’s website. Schools report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week and are ranked in various categories. This year the contest was from Feb. 3 to March 30. The results were released Friday.

These categories include the Stephen K Gaski Per Capita Classic, Waste Minimization, Gorilla Prize and Grand Champion.

Baylor did not place first in any category but placed second in the Big 12 in Waste Minimization, behind the University of Kansas. This is calculated by dividing the combined weight of recyclables and trash by the campus population. The university came in seventh in the state in this category.

In the per capita category, Baylor ranked third in the Big 12 and ninth in the state of Texas. The per capita results are determined by dividing the weight of recycled materials by the campus population.

Smith Getterman, sustainability coordinator, said he is pleased with these results.

“I’m happy with where we are,” he said. “Per capita is something we always look to do well in.”

Getterman said the Office of Sustainability focuses on the Grand Champion category. These results report the schools’ recycling rate, by dividing the weight of the recyclables by the combined weight of recyclables and trash.

“We really make an effort to minimize the amount of waste we do,” he said. “So that’s why we look at Grand Champion now as a big barometer of our success because we want to make sure we’re decreasing the amount of waste as we increase the amount of recycling.”

Baylor placed fourth in the Big 12 and 11th in Texas in the Grand Champion category.

The Gorilla Prize is based on total tons of paper, cardboard, bottles and cans recycled. Baylor placed 11th in the state and came in last of all the Big 12 schools that participated.

Getterman said Baylor’s poor rankings in this category didn’t surprise him.

“As far as the Gorilla Prize, we very rarely ever do well because that’s just overall waste,” he said. “We’re going against public schools that have a lot more resources and more people than us. So that makes that difficult.”

While the university’s rankings are low in some categories, its recycling numbers are increasing, Getterman said.

“Everybody’s kind of picking up their game a little bit,” he said. “Our recycling numbers are actually up. It’s just, so are everybody else’s.”

Getterman said Baylor’s participation in RecyleMania doesn’t impact the amount of recycling the campus produces.

“That ‘s kind of by design because we don’t want it to be this six-week long competition where we’re really focused on recycling and then the rest of the year, we’re not,” he said. “We want it to be a year long process where we’re really trying to cut down the amount of waste we’re producing from our university.”

The Woodlands junior Kayla Udell, student assistant to the sustainability coordinator, said she is glad Baylor participates in RecycleMania.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “It’s just another way that we can get the word out about sustainability and the significance of it.”

Getterman said the competition reminds him that students don’t know about recycling.

“There’s an opportunity for self-analysis there,” he said. “Specifically, the only thing is just continuing to really educate and make students aware of how to recycle and how easy it is to recycle. I think that’s something that we continue to be surprised about.”

Full results can be found at