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A concerted campus-wide effort to reduce its waste production helped Lawrence University finish 19th among 339 schools in the recently completed 2012 national RecycleMania competition’s per capita classic division.

In this category, schools compete to see which can collect the largest combined amount of paper, cardboard and bottles and cans on a per-person basis.

Lawrence was the division’s top finisher among 13 Wisconsin colleges with an average of 37.82 pounds of recyclables per person. The college also had a recycling rate of just over 29 percent of its overall waste generation (126th nationally). Union College won the per capita category’s national title with an average of 61.79 pounds per person.

“We’re doing well against some stiff competition and we’re using that competition to affect some positive changes on campus,” said Jason Brozek, assistant professor of government and current chair of Lawrence’s Green Rootssustainability committee. Some are highly visible ones, like the new outdoor recycling bins around campus and the new single-stream posters in all of the residence halls. Others are more behind the scenes, like evaluating our collection schedule.”

RecycleMania was first conducted in 2001 between Miami University and Ohio University. The 2012 competition included 605 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada.

In addition to the per capita classics division, schools also can participate in three other categories:

Grand Champion, which combined trash and core recyclable materials to determine a school’s recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation

Waste Minimization, which measured the least amount of municipal solid waste (recyclables and trash) per person.

Gorilla Prize, which calculated the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard, bottles and cans during the 10-week competition, regardless of campus population.