The numbers are in, the calculators have done the math and results are now official. RecycleMania 2014 has been a grand success! Here are the highlights:

Antioch University Seattle seized the Grand Champion title with an unparalleled 93% recycling rate! The University lived up to its Commitment to Sustainability by increasing their final recycling rate by 10 percentage points over last year. The secret to their success: beyond having a first rate recycling and recovery program, the school of less than 700 students arranged this year to sort the remaining trash during the term of the competition.

Meanwhile, Kalamazoo College took home both the Per Capita Classic and the Bottles and Cans division wins. Their top rankings return the “K” College Hornets to their winning ways, after taking the Bottles and Cans prize in 2009 and 2010.

Six-time winner of the Gorilla prize, Rutgers University, extended their streak in 2014, The Scarlet-Knights narrowly held off the Duke Blue Devils with a total of 1,183,000 pounds of cardboard, paper and bottles and cans recycling during the spring tournament. With Antioch University Seattle, North Lake College, and Valencia Community College all vying for Waste Minimization victory, it took a combination of RecycleMania experience and innovative thinking to secure Valencia their third-straight win. Their efforts to go paperless by switching to electronic media and centralized waste collection bins paid off.

The Westfield State Nestors proved the fourth time’s a charm with their first-ever victory in the Paper category. After three years in the top ten, and a second-place finish last year, The Nestors perseverance got them the gold!

Eager to restore their 2012 title, Bard College composted their way to the top of the heap claiming the Food Service Organics title with an impressive 28,521 pounds collected!

Last year, the U.S. Military Academy missed the cardboard category prize by just .27 pounds. This year, the West Point Black Nights put their four years of RecycleMania experience to work and collected 27.59 pounds of cardboard per capita to win the category!

Recyclemania – Pacific Lutheran

Pacific Lutheran University: “Garbology” Waste Sort

A day of sorting through food scraps, tennis balls, candy wrappers, and other material paid off as passersby at Pacific Lutheran University stopped to comment on the mountain of “stuff” that could have been diverted from the waste stream. Some were so shocked that they questioned the results of the waste audit.

“It just proved that we needed an eye-opener,” said Chrissy Cooley, PLU’s sustainability coordinator, who is overseeing the Tacoma, Wash.’s university’s participation in RecycleMania, the national collegiate recycling competition that is administered by Keep America Beautiful.

PLU diverts more than 70 percent of its waste, and this event helped show the community that more can be done. A team effort by several campus groups, the biggest challenge was getting the word out in advance of the event. “It’s not so hard to dump a bunch of trash and sort it. It’s hard to let students know why we’re doing this,” said Cooley.

Thinking of organizing your own “Garbology?” Read about how Cooley and her team revamped PLU’s RecycleMania marketing plan and improved its waste diversion rate.