Clark Community College is up to the challenge.

Over an eight-week period, all the trash and recyclables on campus are weighed and reported at http://recyclemaniacs.org, where the college is competing in the Benchmark Division against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Principia College and a number of schools across the nation to have the highest recycling percentage.

Scores are posted each Friday for the previous week at Recyclemaniacs.org, and tracking will continue through March 31. Final results will be announced April 13.

"Recycling is sometimes an overlooked and underappreciated aspect of sustainability, and yet in many ways it is one of the most important,” said Nate Keener, of Lewis and Clark’s Sustainability department. “In seeking to remake the world in a way that allows us to maintain production/consumption cycles for at least seven generations, we often forget that fully half of
the production/consumption cycle involves figuring out what we're going to do with the waste and byproducts we generate. Recycling enables us to complete a circle whereby our consumption feeds right back into our production.”

“RecycleMania is a competition that focuses our attention on the benefits of recycling. We can reduce the amount of resources needed to make the stuff we use every day; we can reduce what we send to landfills; we spend less money doing both.”

RecycleMania began in January 2001 as a challenge between Ohio University and Miami University, as a way to motivate students to recycle more. In 2004, RecycleMania partnered with the U.S. EPA WasteWise program, and the competition steadily grew to 630 educational institutions representing 49 states and 4 Canadian provinces in 2011. That year, more than 7.5 million students and staff participated, collectively recycling 91 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials. “This activity helped to prevent the release of 127,553 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E), equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions of 25,000 passenger cars, or the electricity use of more than 15,500 homes,” according to the official RecycleMania website.

In keeping with the recycling theme, which is on the forefront of Lewis and Clark’s many Sustainability initiatives, the college is partnering with the RiverBend Growth Association to hold an eWaste drive in mid-March. “The Digital Age has made our lives easier in a number of ways, but because some of our fancy gadgets quietly contain mercury, lead, barium, chromium, cadmium and other elements that can wreak havoc on our environment as well as our health, they need to be disposed of properly,” Keener said.

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, the State of Illinois has banned the landfill disposal of a whole host of electronics including televisions and computers, and some companies charge as much as $20 to dispose of them for residents.

CFD e-Cycling will take those same items for free during the eWaste drive, to be held from 9 a.m. to noon March 16 and 17 in the Tolle Lane parking lot across from the Lewis and Clark Godfrey campus.

For those who miss this valuable opportunity, Madison County and Web Innovations and  Technology Services, Inc. (WITS) offer e-waste recycling on a rotating schedule at http://www.witsinc.org as does Somtech Recycling at http://somrecycle.com/.

For more information, contact Nate Keener at (618) 468-2782 or by e-mail at nkeener@lc.edu.

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