Jules Forrest/Assistant Photo Editor Binghamton University is participating in the 10-week recycling competition to help reduce waste on campus. Above, Raymond Barber, a senior majoring in environmental studies, dumps recyclables for the first week of the competition.

Binghamton University is one of 385 college campuses participating in this year’s “RecycleMania” competition, and its organizers are hoping to top BU’s 22nd-place finish last year.

RecycleMania, a 10-week long intercollegiate recycling competition, began Monday. The participating schools are ranked based on several criteria, including which collect the greatest amount of recyclables per capita, which collect the greatest amount of total recyclables, which have the least amount of trash per capita and which have the highest recycling rate. RecycleMania’s “Grand Champion” is determined by calculating each school’s recycling rate as a percentage of its overall waste generation.

According to Peter Coyle, BU’s environmental resource coordinator, BU placed 22nd out of 385 schools last year in the National Grand Champion category.

A two-week trial period prior to the official start of RecycleMania began on Jan. 24. According to Coyle, the trial period gives the schools time to become accustomed to inputting results.

Coyle said that during the first trial week BU’s recycling rate was down compared to last year, but this was “probably because it was move-in week.”

Colleges and universities consume large amounts of resources and generate copious solid waste. According to the RecycleMania website, the recycling tournament has shown that all schools have the potential to further reduce the amount of resources they consume and dispose of.

According to Coyle, BU collects about 2,500 pounds of compost per day, about 5,000 pounds of cans and bottles per week and 4,000 pounds of paper per week.

“I think all printers should be double-sided printers,” Coyle said.

He also added that students should remember to recycle their newspapers after reading them.

This is the first year that undergraduate students at BU will be directly involved in running RecycleMania collections. Students interning for Physical Facilities — Maya Zung, a senior majoring in geology; Melissa Weeks, a junior majoring in psychology; Kyle Kemak, a senior majoring in environmental studies and Sara Kashtan, a sophomore majoring in environmental studies — have been assigned to the RecycleMania project.

Zung is currently working with Physical Facilities on their recycling and composting initiative.

“Recycling is a good way to show school spirit and do something for the environment,” Zung said. “We’re trying to make sure BU students practice better recycling habits.”

Zung said she wants to continue to work on environmental causes in the future.

“I’m really excited for RecycleMania this year,” Zung said. “Getting 22nd place without much work is impressive, we can do really well this year.”

Zung said that she and her fellow undergraduate interns have the goal of increasing the promotion of RecycleMania on campus this year.

Coyle said Physical Facilities will implement composting programs for waste in the New University Union’s Food Court and Events Center by the end of the semester.

“This will increase the amount we divert from landfill,” he said. “It will be used in a more beneficial way.”

More information is available on www.recyclemania.org.