The University of Michigan in February joined a nationwide competition to see which campus building would be able to reduce the most waste and out-do each other in recycling efforts. The amount UM buildings collectively recycled was entered into a contest with hundreds of other colleges and universities called RecycleMania, and UM placed first in the large-campus division for zero waste, according to a news release from the university. The zero-waste division, which was new this year, is designed to help schools test their zero-waste efforts and compare results to other campuses.

More than 300 U.S. and Canadian campuses participated in RecycleMania and recycled, composted or donated 48.6 million pounds of waste, according to the news release. Contestants tracked all sources of waste generated during a four-week period and aimed for the highest diversion rate by recycling, composting and reusing items to reduce the amount sent to landfill, the university said. “Each of these buildings has strong waste-diversion programs and a culture that truly supports sustainability,” says Alison Richardson, recycling coordinator with UM’s Office of Campus Sustainability. “They were already taking the initiative to reduce their waste and increase composting efforts, which was critical to UM winning this award.”

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Author: Steve Marowski,
Photo: Nicole Hester,