Bears retain national RecycleMania title

It’s finally decided: UC Berkeley has successfully defended its title in the national collegiate waste-diversion competition, Recyclemania. The campus received official word this week that, for the second year in a row, the Bears took first place in the national “Game Day” competition, with a waste-diversion rate of 93 percent at its March 8 men’s basketball home game against University of Colorado Boulder (which Cal won 66-65).

basketball players with recycle signs

Victory is sweet, double victory even sweeter: the Bears prevailed in hoops as well as recycling at their 2014 Recyclemania Game Day.

Berkeley’s latest RecycleMania win was a close one,  “since Cornell was only 1.3 percent behind us, and our Pac12 competition, Arizona State, was only 5.5 percent behind,” says Lin King, manager of Campus Recycling and Refuse Services.

CRRS led the campus effort, with weeks of strategizing and planning for the national contest involving about 600 colleges and universities.

By working with Cal Dining, nearly all food-related items at the Game Day challenge “were either compostable or recyclable, significantly helping in achieving the high diversion rate,” King says. And Cal Athletics Facilities provided recycling and compost bins and collections throughout Haas Pavilion for the game.

At half-time, Cal Athletics’ Fan Experience team put on a half-time event to teach people how to accurately dispose of their waste: Two student participants competed in a composting and recycling toss on the court and won prizes donated by Cal Dining. And a post-game waste audit was performed on the landfill waste stream to further divert waste, King says.

Before the game, Student Projects Redefining Our University’s Trash (SPROUTS) hosted an activity with RecycleMania-themed giveaways at the Kids’ Zone.

The 2014 Recyclemania competition ran from Feb. 2 to March 29; participating colleges and universities were allowed to choose any game during this time for the competition. Winners were announced April 11, after all the recycling numbers were tabulated and verified.

For more information, see CRRS’ RecycleMania page.