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Lehigh recycles 143,080 lbs. during RecycleMania Competition

Through February and March 2015, Lehigh competed in RecycleMania for the third year.  The RecycleMania Tournament harnesses the competitive energy of sports rivalries to engage students in increasing recycling and waste reduction on campuses nationwide.

Lehigh participated in the eight-week competition in which schools are ranked according to how much recycling, trash and food waste they collect. Between the Feb. 1 kickoff and the final recycling weigh-in on March 28, competing schools recycled or composted a total of 80.1 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of 129, 411 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to preventing annual emissions from 25, 375 cars.

Lehigh alone collected over 143,080 lbs. of recyclable materials during the course of the competition, preventing the release of 257 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere.

The Office of Sustainability and Eco-Reps held several events during the competition to help promote recycling.  The Caught Green Handed campaign consisted of a series of photos of students found using reusable water bottles and other waste-reducing behaviors.  Another event was the Game Day: Basketball challenge, a basketball game at which Eco-Reps encouraged fans to recycle and promoted the RecycleMania competition.  The Eco-Reps also hosted a Trashion Show where students created and modelled outfits made from trash.

Colleges and universities that compete in RecycleMania are ranked according to how much recycling, trash and food waste they collect over two months.

Lehigh ranked 161 in the Grand Champion category with 24.5% of our total waste recycled during the competition.

In the Per Capita Classic category, Lehigh ranked 70 with an average 17.25 pounds of trash produced per person.

The colleges and universities taking home top prizes include:

  • “Grand Champion” (percentage of overall waste that is recycled): Antioch University (96%)
  • “Per Capita Classic” (total pounds of recyclables per person): Loyola Marymount University (73.9 lbs.)
  • “Waste Minimization” (least overall waste per person):  North Lake College (3.3 lbs.)

Of course, members of the Lehigh community should continue to reduce waste even though the competition is over!  Here are a few tips:

  • Learn what can and cannot be recycled at Lehigh:
  • Reduce the amount of trash you generate: use a reusable coffee mug! eat in, don't take out! reuse office supplies! drink from a reusable water bottle!
  • Remind your friends and co-workers to recycle around campus
  • Make your next departmental or club event waste-free or low-waste!
  • Make sure that each garbage can in your office, classroom, lab or dorm room is paired with a blue recycling bin!


About RecycleMania
The RecycleMania Tournament was launched in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. RecycleMania is an independent program of RecycleMania, Inc., a non-profit composed of a board of directors who are professional college recycling and sustainability managers from across the country.  Program management is provided by Keep America Beautiful with additional program support from the United States EPA’s WasteWise program and the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC). This year, RecycleMania partnered with National Wildlife Foundation’s Campus Ecology program, Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN) and myActions. For complete competition details including a list of participating schools, visit the RecycleMania website at

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