Recycle maniacs

Published in FSD Update

recyclemania-logo

Four hundred sixty-one colleges and universities across the United States participated in the 14th annual RecycleMania tournament, a bracket-style competition to motivate students and promote waste-reduction activities across campus, including within dining facilities. Organized by nonprofit RecycleMania Inc. with support from Keep America Beautiful, the event was designed to leverage the competitive spirit of the NCAA basketball tournament. This year, a total of 89.1 million pounds of materials were recovered from competing institutions, 16.3 million pounds of which were organic items such as food waste.

During an eight-week period, participating schools reported the amount of recycling and trash collected each week. The schools were ranked based upon per capita recycling figures, as well as which had the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which generated the least amount of combined trash and recycling.

Alec Cooley, program manager for RecycleMania and director of recycling programs for Keep America Beautiful, says the initiative provides a tool to help operators build awareness around a food-waste reduction campaign. Just as important, RecycleMania provides a shot of adrenaline to college students. “If the ‘save the earth’ message doesn’t work, you have to package that message in a way that will resonate with your audience and their values,” Cooley says. “That’s the genesis behind RecycleMania. We know we can tap into the rivalries that already exist between colleges and we know that competition in general is something that motivates college students.” The competition has been gaining traction since the program began in 2001 with just two schools.

Participation is led by a variety of campus departments, though Cooley shares that for “a majority of schools, the driving force is usually facilities based, a recycling department or sustainability office. We have quite a few schools where it is the foodservice director or dining office that takes that lead role.”

The 2014 winners include:

  • Grand Champion category with the largest percentage of overall waste that was recycled: Antioch University, Seattle
  • Per Capita Classic category with the largest total pounds of recyclables per person: Kalamazoo College, Michigan
  • Waste Minimization category with the least overall waste per person: Valencia College, Orlando, Fla.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
Roasted Beet Salad Pickled Blueberries
From Blueberry Council.

What’s trending in the culinary world? The basics! According to the NRA, diners today are craving authenticity, simplicity and freshness on menus. But basic ingredients don’t have to lead to boring menu options.

It’s easy to fall into the latest craze to capture consumer attention and drive sales. But we’ve learned it’s not always about novelty. Instilling a feeling of nostalgia and familiarity by using well-known and well-loved ingredients in new, experimental dishes can lead to an increase in adventurous dining decisions, while staying in your customers’...

Managing Your Business
wage feud business

As plans to increase the minimum wage surge ahead in states such as New York and California, operators eventually will feel the reverberations shake up labor costs for more than just hourly workers. As associate wages gain on manager salaries, operators will have to answer a call for reciprocal increases. FSD spoke with operators who advised going gently into the brave new world of heightened labor costs, investing in talent and making cuts elsewhere; however, they did offer three perfectly proactive tactics to make the process as seamless as possible.

1. Keep talking

Even though...

Menu Development
craft beer flight
A draw for happy hour...

San Francisco restaurateur Charles Phan plans to serve beer and wine, and depending on liquor licensing, perhaps cocktails as well. “For faculty and staff on campus, it will be a really wonderful place to come to and have a glass of wine,” Wolch says. “Right now, we have The Faculty Club bar, which is a very historic spot, but this is going to be much more contemporary.”

And for morning coffee...

Phan’s plan for made-to-order coffee is bound to be a boon for both faculty and students. “We’ll have a brand-new espresso machine,” Phan says. Wolch adds, “Most...

Managing Your Business
wurster west may 2016

At a nearly 150-year-old university, every stone column and classroom has treasured stories to tell. But with that history come the logistical challenges of operating in outdated spaces—especially for foodservice. Such is the case at University of California at Berkeley, where longtime cafe Ramona’s in Wurster Hall closed in March to make way for an updated, as-yet unnamed concept.

With little more than a steam table and coolers, Ramona’s was limited by its lack of ventilation. And, as a former classroom space, it never was intended to function for foodservice, says Jennifer Wolch...

FSD Resources