California State University-San Marcos

A perennial top performer in RecycleMania, California State University-San Marcos garnered seven number one rankings in Grand Champion (2005-2011). In 2011, they took first place in Grand Champion with a 79.69% recycling rate! A young campus that has been recycling since the buildings opened up in 1992, San Marcos recycling coordinator Carl Hanson is proud of the school's constant high numbers. "It really is not a 10 week thing here. We just ramp up our everyday efforts during the competition," said Hanson. Even so, the competition generates a wide amount of interest as the recycling team channels the competitive spirit. "San Marcos does not have a football or basketball team....RecycleMania comes up every year as a sort of sports competition," Hanson added.

San Marcos taps into existing campus networks to spread the word on the competition. With just a dozen posting boards and strict posting policy that all campus departments are held to, a visitor is not apt to find large banners or entire walls plastered with posters. Instead, Hanson and his student assistant send routine updates to all administrative assistants of the 80 campus departments. Each department on campus then has their own source for recycling and competition information. Posters were placed strategically in the main campus dining facility (The Dome) and other crossroads like the elevator lobby where students wait for a ride to class.

San Marcos also promoted to their recycling staff. A team of custodial/landscape workers known informally as the Blue Crew was critical to the sorting and collecting of materials. Blue Crew members learned about the competition rules so they could prioritize the materials they collect. The joint custodial and recycling taskforce further ensured that everyone on campus heard about RecycleMania.

At this primarily commuter campus of just under 9,000, the multiple streams of information lent further legitimacy and value to the competition. "Win, lose, or draw...this is a great way to get attention for the campus," says Hanson. For more information on San Marcos' RecycleMania efforts, check out:

San Marcos Blue Crew
San Marcos recycling station