Haywood Community College shot to the top in a nationwide recycling competition by doing little more than what it already does to promote sustainability.
More than 600 colleges signed up for RecycleMania across the country, recycling and composting more than 84 million pounds of material in just 10 weeks.
In HCC’s first year entering, it ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 19 in the country in its category of Waste Minimization, in which schools compete to see which produces the least amount of municipal solid waste (both recyclables and trash) per person.
By the end of the 10 weeks, HCC weighed in with about 19 pounds of trash per person. In comparison, Ursinus College, which ranked last in the category at No. 199, had a cumulative result of 200 pounds of trash per person.
In the first week, HCC sent more than 1,900 pounds of paper, cardboard, aluminum and plastic to the recycling center, as well as 3,500 pounds of scrap metal.
More than 500 pounds of wood were salvaged from the campus to be reused and over 100 pounds of food waste from the café were added to HCC’s compost pile.
Alan Morrow, HCC Campus Arboretum Team Leader, who led the effort, said the college did not have to start from scratch to succeed in the competition. It already had a compost pile, and students and staff have been trained to use recycling bins, located in every classroom and building.
“Participating in RecycleMania is just another way to highlight what HCC does every day to incorporate sustainability into campus life,” Morrow said.