Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Waste reduced for RecycleMania

By Stephanie Ball

Every Tuesday and Thursday, a Waste Management truck comes to Brookhaven College and collects the contents of the bins designated for recyclable materials. Tommy Gallegos, director of facilities, counts and sorts paper, aluminum, plastic and cardboard. The numbers are totaled and entered into RecycleMania’s online data logs every Friday.

RecycleMania is an eight-week nationwide recycling competition for colleges and universities. Gallegos and Carrie Schweitzer, assistant to the president, are co-chairs of the Brookhaven Green Team, the group sponsoring the competitive effort to reduce waste on campus.

“This is the first year we have done this,” Schweitzer said. “If people just recycle and are conscious about it, we can do it.”
In September 2009, Dr. Richard McCrary, former Brookhaven interim president, signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. According to ACUPCC’s website, the commitment is an effort to reduce gas emissions from specified campus operations.

Schweitzer said a recommendation of the program was to involve the campus in a waste recycling project. Brookhaven signed on to RecycleMania in the category that measures per capita single-stream recycling. Single-stream includes paper, aluminum, clean cardboard and plastic bottles.

Gallegos said the recycling containers on campus are set up for products made from those materials because Brookhaven was using single-stream recycling before the competition started. “I think this is a great initiative,” Gallegos said. “Every time we deal with sustainability it is important to get people involved.”

Gallegos calculates the approximate weight of each bundle of paper, cardboard, aluminum and plastic to determine the data that is reported to RecycleMania every Friday.

As of press time, Brookhaven was 247 out of 253 schools in the Per Capita Classic ranking of RecycleMania. According to, in the first week of the competition Brookhaven recycled .12 pound per person.

Schweitzer said she would be happy to collect a pound of recyclables per person, but would also like to see goods in the appropriate container. “I haven’t peered into the receptacles lately, but last time I looked there were less recyclables in the trash,” Schweitzer said.

The goal of the project according to Gallegos and Schweitzer is to educate students and employees on the benefits of recycling and to improve every year.

“Hopefully we can move up in rank as we start to recycle more,” Schweitzer said. “Sometimes you have to be in a building process before everyone is involved.”

Students and employees are encouraged to recycle items on campus instead of throwing them into the trash.

The recycling containers are located next to trash cans in every building. The competition continues through March 31 and the winning school receives national recognition and a bowling pin used as a trophy made from recycled materials.

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