Students, faculty and staff are back at it, defending the university’s ACC title this year. No, you didn’t miss any football or basketball championships — we’re talking about trash. Last year the Demon Deacons claimed the ACC title for greatest waste reduction per capita during RecycleMania 2010. And this year, we’re back to defend that title and perhaps secure a new one.

RecycleMania is nationwide recycling competition that pits 630 colleges and universities against one another to promote waste reduction and recycling on campus. Schools  compete in a variety of areas, including waste minimization, overall weight of recyclables, and diversion rates of targeted materials for recycling.

The university’s participation in this year’s RecycleMania tournament coincides with the launch of the “Choose to Reuse” campaign, which promotes the switch to reusable water bottles from disposable single-use bottles.

Thirty percent of Wake Forest students report consuming an average of 5 disposable bottles of water per week. This equates to over 6000 bottles of water being consumed weekly by students on the Reynolda campus alone. By these calculations, simply making the switch to reusable bottles, will cut 4800 bottles out of the the university’s waste stream each week – and this is just water bottle waste from students. Imagine all of the landfill waste we could reduce by switching to durable, re-usable options in all areas of campus life.

RecycleMania fans are encouraged to track collective waste reduction and recycling efforts online. Results are available each Friday on the Recyclemania web site throughout the competition, which runs until April 2. Students can also keep informed on the university’s progress by coming to Think Green Thursdays throughout the semester.

By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern