EMU in top 20 percent of nation in recycling competition

By Brooke Fansler, EMU class of 2012 (English major)

EMU placed 28th in the “waste minimization” category out of 510 colleges and universities in a nationwide recycling challenge called “Recylemania” held during spring semester.

That percentage “is the most comprehensive indicator of how well a school manages its waste, as it inherently includes any reducing and reusing of waste material in addition to recycling,” according to Jonathan Lantz-Trissel, recycling and waste reduction coordinator at EMU.

EMU's recycling coordinator Jonathan Lantz-Trissel
Jonathan Lantz-Trissel makes his regular rounds of campus, using a custom-built bike and specially-designed trailer to collect recyclables.

Lantz-Trissel described Recyclemania as “a friendly, 10-week competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities.”

During the competition, schools reported recycling and trash data, which was then ranked according to who collected the largest amount of recyclables per capita, who collected the largest amount of total recyclables, and who created the least amount of trash per capita or had the highest recycling rate.

EMU placed 33rd overall in the Grand Champions category, recycling 40.02% of its solid waste, reported Lantz-Trissel, recycling and waste reduction coordinator at EMU. That percentage “is up from 33.94% over last year, a marked improvement since more schools took part in the competition this year,” he noted. Read about last year’s competition and the award EMU earned…

As an added ecologically-friendly effort, Lantz-Trissel and student assistants use a custom-built bike, which pulls an specially-designed 8-foot trailer, to 24 recycling points on campus every week. The metal trailer can haul about 300 pounds at a time.

“I’m still trying to get bonus points for being the only school to not use fossil fuels to collect our recycling on campus,” Lantz-Trissel said. “Maybe we’ll get some special recognition in future competitions.”