BY ISN STAFF | June 21, 2023
In April 2023, Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles became the first school in history to win back-to-back championships in all three major categories for the Campus Race to Zero Waste, the nation’s premier waste reduction and recycling competition among colleges and universities. It aims to “inspire, empower, and mobilize colleges and universities to benchmark and improve efforts to reduce or eliminate waste.”
Since the first competition in 2001, LMU has won five national championships. In 2022, the university won the Food Organics, Diversion, and Per Capita categories for medium-sized schools, and became the first school to repeat all three categories again in 2023.
For the 2022-23 academic year, LMU recycled 76.96% of its total waste, or 51.99 pounds per person on campus. The school also reduced 1,005 metric tons of CO2, the equivalent of 87 households’ energy consumption, or getting 197 cars off the road.
This year’s Campus Race to Zero Waste challenge saw 3.4 million students and staff across the country compete to reduce campus waste footprints. The minimization efforts resulted in the donation, composting, and recycling of more than 29.4 million pounds of waste, including keeping over 200 million single-use plastic containers out of landfills.
“The impact these colleges and universities have on reducing their waste footprint is tremendous and almost hard to comprehend,” said Kristy Jones, director of higher education programs at National Wildlife Federation, which managed this year’s event. “The collective efforts to minimize waste and reduce stress on natural resources is inspiring and creating a better world for wildlife and the environment.”