What and When is Campus Race to Zero Waste?
Campus Race to Zero Waste (formerly known as RecycleMania) is an annual competition among universities in the US and Canada which measures and compares campus waste reduction efforts over an eight-week period. The 2021 Campus Race to Zero Waste competition was held from January 31st to March 27th, 2021. Through Campus Race to Zero Waste educational efforts, UNT aimed to engage students, staff, and faculty in sustainable everyday practices that divert items from the landfill and make recycling and waste reduction both accessible and meaningful. Our campus participated in the Stephen K. Gaski Per Capita 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 Campus Race to Zero Waste campaign is hosted by the We Mean Green Fund. UNT Facilities and the University Union supported and assisted in measuring the weights of collected recyclables each week of the competition.
The next Campus Race to Zero Waste campaign will reconvene in February 2022.
- 8 Rs of Reducing Waste
- Campus Partnerships
- Social Media Challenges
- Recycled Materials
- Campus Race to Zero Waste Reports
8 Rs of Reducing Waste
UNT’s take on the 2021 Campus Race to Zero Waste Campaign was segmented into eight weeks of thematic education and programming. Each week of the campaign featured one of the 8 Rs of Reducing Waste: Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Recycle, Reform, and Recruit. The first six Rs identify a chronological order in which we can replace our waste creation habits with resourceful habits before choosing to toss something into the landfill. The last two Rs serve as a reminder to evaluate our place and role in communities and consider how we can advocate for systems-level change to reduce unnecessary consumption and waste production that create harm within our society and environment. Each week of our Campus Race to Zero Waste featured social media challenges, waste reduction tips, engaging activities, and educational events focused on one of the 8 Rs to inspire the UNT community to get involved in creating a more sustainable campus and a healthier planet.
The UNT We Mean Green Fund would like to thank campus departments and organizations for their partnership during the 2021 Campus Race to Zero Waste. Engaging events and educational resources were made possible through the following campus partnerships:
- UNT Media Library
- College of Visual Arts and Design
- College of Merchandising, Hospitality, and Tourism
- UNT Natural Dye Garden
- University Program Council
- UNT Facilities
- University Union
- Center for Leadership & Service
- Dr. Kim De Wolff’s Environmental Justice class (PHIL 4740)
University Media Library Content
The UNT Media Library compiled environmental library resources including documentaries, video games, and board games for the UNT community to access free of cost. View the online resource guide and check out a board game while you’re at it!
Mean Green Fix & Wear: The Sustainable Magic of Clothes Mending Webinar
Dr. Iva Jestratijevic and Dr. Hae Jin Gam introduced their upcoming We Mean Green Fund funded project, Mean Green Fix & Wear, through a virtual panel discussion with students, professors, and business owners about the benefits of clothes mending. Watch the recording.
UNT Natural Dye Garden Basics
Led by Abby Sherrill, Fabrication Labs Manager and Natural Dye Garden Coordinator, students attended a virtual event to learn about the UNT Natural Dye Garden and the benefits of using natural dyes instead of chemical dyes to reduce the environmental impact of dyeing fabrics.
Reducing Waste: A Conversation with UNT Student Leaders hosted by the University Program Council
Student leaders facilitated a sustainability-focused educational virtual event involving trivia questions, peer-led conversations, and sustainable prizes.
Scrappy Storm Drain Artscape Competition
UNT Students were invited to submit mural designs for the Scrappy Storm Drain Artscape Competition which aims to spread awareness about water pollution prevention on campus through painted storm drain murals.
Biodegradable Confetti Giveaway
Through a collaboration between the Center for Leadership and Service and the We Mean Green Fund, students received free biodegradable confetti to use in graduation photos and upcoming celebrations to prevent plastic pollution that results from the use of conventional confetti.
PHIL 4740 Students Present Local Environmental Issues
Students in Dr. De Wolff’s Environmental Justice Class researched an environmental justice issue and created social media posts to raise awareness for the issue they researched.
Social Media Challenges
Due to COVID-19, Campus Race to Zero Waste 2021 was a primarily virtual experience. Through the UNT WMGF social media platforms (@UNTWMGF), the UNT community was able to participate in weekly engaging social media challenges for a chance to win eco-friendly prizes.
For the national Campus Race to Zero Waste competition, UNT Facilities and the University Union supported UNT in diverting 70,056 lbs. of waste from the landfill by recycling.*
*This measurement represents only some of the recycled material across UNT.
70,056 lbs. = the weight of 8 Asian Elephants!