By Kristina Michel
For this year’s RecycleMania competition, the University of Houston Office of Sustainability is doing things a little differently. In partnership with the Student Center, UH Dining Services, the UH Music Library and Bass Computer Recycling, the office will participate in a brand new category for the 2017 national competition over the course of four weeks in February.
The new category is called Race to Zero Waste. The goal of the category is to allow colleges and universities the chance to experiment with new or more refined zero waste programs and outreach initiatives at a single building on campus. They can then use the results of these efforts as a model for the rest of the campus to follow.
Schools participating in the Race to Zero Waste category are judged based on which disposes the least amount of waste material as trash. Since schools are concentrating on one building, the Race to Zero Waste competition lasts for four weeks instead of the traditional eight weeks of the overall RecycleMania competition. The Student Center was selected for this category due in part to the success of its recent campaign on recycling and sustainability.
“The Student Center launched its sustainability initiatives in the fall of 2016 and has gone full force with the addition of 80 new recycling bins, outreach programs and establishing its own sustainability committee,” said Melissa Halstead, sustainability coordinator for the Office of Sustainability. “Partnering with the Student Center within the new RecycleMania category, Race to Zero Waste, only seemed natural. We hope to beat other colleges across the nation and empower our students, faculty, staff and guests to increase recycling rates within the Student Center and campus-wide.”
There will be four events in February as part of the competition. More information about each event is available here:
At each event, the first 50 attendees will receive a RecycleMania button. Those who collect three buttons can enter to win a Sustainable Semester Survival prize pack, which includes a lunch kit full of reusable supplies and a T-shirt.
To be entered, participants much show their button collections by taking a picture of them and posting it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with @UHSustain and #UHRecycleMania. They may also email the picture to firstname.lastname@example.org along with their contact information.
RecycleMania is a nationwide competition that invites colleges and universities across the United States and Canada to benchmark and improve efforts to reduce or eliminate waste. In addition to the new Race to Zero Waste category, UH will participate in the E-cycleMania category. Track UH’s progress weekly during the competition by going to recyclemaniacs.org.
For more information about recycling on campus, go to the Office of Sustainability’s website.