CNM Finishes Strong in RecycleMania

April 9, 2015 -- The official results aren’t in yet – they won’t be released until next week – but it appears that CNM had a great showing in this year’s RecycleMania Tournament, a national competition among colleges to see who can recycle the highest percentage of their total waste.
July 16, 2015

Last week we were 28th out of 226 schools participating in Recyclemania,” said Carson Bennett, CNM’s Campus as a Living Lab Faculty Liaison. “So far, we remain in the top 10 percent.”

This is the second year in a row that CNM participated in the two-month-long competition, increasing its recycling by eight percent compared to this time last year. The competition ran from Feb. 2 through March 29.

The winning colleges will receive trophies made of recycled materials, bragging rights as national recycling champions, and will be featured on the RecycleMania website.

Several activities were part of CNM’s RecycleMania efforts. The first was a CNM Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building tour on Feb. 6, planned in conjunction with the local United States Green Building Council (USGBC) chapter of students and emerging professionals. Twenty-six attendees, including 12 CNM students and faculty members, six UNM students and eight community members toured the Student Resource Center and JS buildings on Main Campus, both of which are LEED-certified. They also walked through the L Building renovation project to see how materials removed during demolition can be recycled and how recycled materials can be used during construction.

Tour guides were:

  • Myrna Marquez, Director of Facilities at the Physical Plant Department (PPD), led tours through the SRC building.
  • Melanie Archibeque, Project Manager at PPD, gave a presentation on site-specific LEED credits.
  • Noreen Richards, Architect and LEED-AP at SMP Architects, led tours through the L building.
  • Jarret Pearl, Architect and LEED-AP at EDI Integrative Consulting, led tours through the JS building.

The biggest event of RecycleMania, however, was Mount Trashmore, held March 4, when more than 115 student volunteers sorted through trash from two large buildings on Main Campus, separating recyclables from actual waste. Mount Trashmore provided students with a valuable lesson on how much recyclable material is unnecessarily taken to the dump on a daily basis instead of to a recycling plant.

The most common recyclable “finds” in the garbage were paper and plastic bottles.

“Knowing this, we can target the use of water bottles, for example, showing people how much money and materials they would save if they used reusable water bottles instead of the disposable kind,” Bennett said.

Another fun activity that students participated in as part of RecycleMania was the Adopt a Recycling Bin Contest. Some 70 members of the CNM community “adopted” recycling bins and used recyclables to decorate them. 

Due to the success of the RecycleMania events, CNM faculty members Asa Stone (Psychology), Katrina Taylor (Political Science and Intro to Sustainability), Molly Blumhoefer (Geography), and others are interested in planning “Water in the Desert” themed workshops, lectures, and other educational events for the fall term. Topics might include storm water management, drought resiliency, and water use awareness. Stay tuned for these sustainability and Campus as a Living Lab opportunities.

“We want to take advantage of the momentum that was started with RecycleMania and build a truly sustainable campus,” Bennett said.