Administration and Finance Focus

Administration Finance & Focus


New partners, new category for this year’s RecycleMania

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:

  • RecycleMania Kick-off Celebration: This event was held Feb. 9 at the Student Center South Plaza area
  • Food Waste Demonstration by UH Dining Services: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Student Center South (inside by the circle drive entrance)
  • Third annual Electronics Recycling Drive (in conjunction with Bass Computer Recycling): 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Student Center South circle drive. A full list of acceptable electronics is available here.
  • February Sustainability Meetup (in conjunction with the UH Music Library): 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 28 in the Moores School of Music Library (Room 220). Those interested in attending this event must register online before Feb. 24.

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 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

For more information about recycling on campus, go to the Office of Sustainability’s website.