Grand Valley ranks high in nationwide recycling contest

A student places items in a compost bin at the Commons.
A student places items in a compost bin at the Commons.
Posted on

Grand Valley ranked 33rd in the country and first in the state for universities that have more than 20,000 students in the composting category of the nationwide recycling contest Recyclemania. The 10-week competition aimed to reduce waste and increase student awareness about the importance of recycling. More than 600 colleges and universities participated in the competition that took place from January 20-March 30.

An average of 26,094 pounds of materials were composted each week during the competition, totaling more than 190,000 pounds overall, compared to an average of 23,506 pounds each week last year, said Steve Leeser, operations supervisor for Facilities Services.

Leeser said composting efforts on campus have increased since last year’s competition. In addition to composting paper towels from campus bathrooms and food scraps from Campus Dining, composting stations were added to large office break rooms and the Kirkhof Center lobby.

“We’ve been so successful at composting because of the effort from students, faculty and staff and many campus departments,” said Leeser. “We work with a local vendor that processes the composting into soil and sells to local farmers.”

Grand Valley also placed first in the state in the Waste Minimization category. “I think that’s one of the real successes here because through our composting and recycling efforts, the amount that goes to the landfill is decreasing,” said Leeser.

This is the fifth year Grand Valley competed in Recyclemania. Campus Dining, Housing, Sustainable Community Development Initiative and Pew Campus Operations helped Facilities Services during the contest.

Visit the Facilities Services website for more information.