RecycleMania 2020 [A Recap]


scrappy recycling on campus

The 2020 RecycleMania Tournament was held from February 2nd to March 28th, 2020. RecycleMania, now know as Campus Race to Zero Waste, is an annual competition among universities in the US and Canada which measures and compares campus waste reduction efforts over an eight-week period. Through this competitive campaign, the UNT We Mean Green Fund engages students, staff, and faculty in sustainable everyday practices that divert items from the landfill and make recycling and waste reduction both accessible and meaningful to all. Our campus competed in the Stephen K. Gaski Per Capita RecycleMania challenge, which means we measured and reported the weights of paper, cardboard, and bottles/cans recycled on campus on a per person basis each week.  

UNT's 2020 RecycleMania campaign was supported by many partners including UNT Facilities, the RecycleMania Student Planning Committee,  the University Union, Keep Denton Beautiful Inc., the City of Denton Sustainability Department, UNT Transportation Services, the UNT Police Department, local bike shops, and more. 

8 Rs of Reducing Waste (2020)


Yellow and blue RecycleMania 2020 tournament logo features a bright blue and white recycle arrow sign

In light of the 2020 RecycleMania Tournament, a RecycleMania Student Planning Committee was established in fall 2019 to facilitate student leadership and community involvement in the RecycleMania Tournament. Rather than focusing only on increasing recycling efforts on campus, the RecycleMania Student Planning Committee, with funding support from the student-funded We Mean Green Fund, developed an eight-week campaign called the “8 Rs of Reducing Waste. The 8 Rs (Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Refurbish, Repurpose, and Recycle) selected for 2020 identified a strategic order in which we can replace our waste creation habits with resourceful habits before choosing to toss something into the trash or recycling bin.​ Each week of RecycleMania featured social media challenges, waste reduction tips, and events focused on one of the 8 Rs to inspire the UNT community to get involved. 

2020 RecycleMania Events


Click the images below for more information about each event.

Zero Waste Picnic - Bring your own lunch. Bring your own zero waste ideas, questions, and lunch to challenge assumptions about zero waste. Get a free reusable straw and identify ways to make going zero waste more accessible for you!
UNT Campus Litter Clean Up with Keep Denton Beautiful Volunteer to show your love for Mother Earth this Valentine's Day. What's more romantic than showing you care? Make it a date! Volunteer as a group or individual.
Recycling Tours UNT and Denton Recycling Facilities Learn how to recycle right and prevent recycling contamination. Ever wonder what happens to your recycling after it goes into the blue bin?
UNT Merch Swap - Donate your clean, gently-used, or new UNT merch to prevent unused items from reaching the landfill and swap them for something fresh! Nothing to swap? You can still attend to make sure all items find a new home!
Bike Repair Fair Join UNT Transportation Services, local bike shops, and the UNT Police Department for free bike swag, tips on basic repairs, and other fun activities! Don't throw away that old bike!
#WasteJarUNT - Challenge Join Denton Sustainability Education Coordinator Vanessa Ellison to participate in the UNT Waste Jar Challenge. Can't make the event? Join the social media challenge by tracking your trash in a jar and posting online with the tag
Recycle Right on the Library Mall - See how waste put in the wrong bin can impact an entire batch of recycled materials and learn how you can prevent recycling contamination. Ever been confused about what you can and can't recycle? Come find out!
Plastic Bag Drop-Off - RecycleMania Competition From February 2-March 28, UNT is participation in an international competition among universities to increase recycling and reduce waste. Plastic bags are a notoriously difficult item to recycle.


New in 2020: Plastic Bag Recycling Competition at the Union!


Plastic Drop off area in the union

Plastic bags should never be placed in a typical campus recycling receptacle! Plastic bags are notoriously hard to recycle items; they get caught up in recycling equipment and need to be recycled separately from other recycled materials. During 2020's RecycleMania competition, the We Mean Green Fund hosted a Plastic Bag Recycling Competition wherein freshman, sophomores, juniors, seniors, grad students, and staff/faculty competed weekly to recycle the most plastic bags at the designated drop-off station. Participants brought their clean, dry, empty, and food-free plastic bags to the drop-off station located on the first floor of the Student Union to the left of the Corner Store.

Need to find a plastic bag drop-off location near you today? Please bring your plastic bags to a local grocer or retailer who accepts them. Bags brought to our RecycleMania drop-off location during the 2020 competition were delivered to Sprouts Farmers Market on Teasley Lane in Denton. Sprouts Farmers Market sends plastic films to TREX. Find out more about what TREX does with unwanted plastic bags to protect the environment. ​



calendar of recycling events

RecycleMania in the News

For questions about RecycleMania (now called Campus Race to Zero Waste) at UNT, please contact