Building off of last year’s exciting results at 1414 Mass Ave, the FAS Green Program invited the departments of five buildings to compete in its annual recycling competition this year, rousing over 600 faculty, staff, and graduate students to take a closer look at improving their trash and recycling habits.

The recycling competition was run in two parts:

  • Intra-building competition: Running for three weeks, departments or floors were pitted against each other. Twice a week a grader assessed the common area trash and recycling bins, and 3-5 office bins. Each bin or office received a letter grade, and the average of all the grades would be that floor or department’s grade for the day.

  • Inter-building competition: Behind the scenes audits occurred during the three weeks after the initial intra-competition ended. Buildings were audited to determine what percentage of the trash should have gone in the recycling and the building with the least amount of recycling in the trash was declared the overall best recycler.

After three weeks of competition, it came down to sudden death in most of the buildings, and each produced a victor (or in the case of Barker, two):

  • University Hall: The 3rd floor, consisting of the Social Science Division, Faculty Development, and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences administrators. 

  • Littauer Hall: The Fine Arts Library on the 1st floor

  • 1414 Mass Ave: 4th floor, Finance Offices

  • Center for Governmental and International Studies (CGIS): Center for Middle Eastern Studies

  • Barker Center: After a sudden death round, the competition ended with a tie between the Office of Religious Studies and the combined offices of American Civilization Studies, Ethical Studies, Special Concentrations, Medieval Studies, and Faculty Services.

The post competition audits showed that the hard work of the competition paid off; all of the buildings showed a decrease in the amount of recycling that ended up in the trash. The most improved was Barker Center, which went from 32% down to 25.5%, with CGIS as a close second, showing an improvement from 36% down to 31%. Littauer’s recycling in the trash was down to 23%*, while 1414 Mass Ave was able to reduce their rate even further than last year, getting their already exceptional recycling rate down from 17% to 16.5%. The folks at University Hall were ultimately the best recyclers, bringing their incorrectly sorted recycling down from 20% to 16%. 

The FAS Green Program will be holding small celebrations for each of our winning floors and departments, where they will receive a trophy sculpted out of used items by our student intern, Emma Framson ’15 (pictured above). 

*The trash bags from Littauer’s audit were mixed with a sampling from the Science Center, so unfortunately a baseline could not be established.