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RecycleMania 2015

The University of Houston Office of Sustainability hosted the annual RecycleMania competition February 1 through March 28, 2015. The below information details the University's programming efforts for the competition during 2015. View the winning What's the Big Idea? proposal developed by Kourosh Zakeri and Laurel Rawley.
What is RecycleMania?

RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over an eight-week period each spring, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week and are ranked in various categories. With each week’s updated ranking, participating schools follow their performance against other colleges and use the results to rally their campus to reduce and recycle more. View the University of Houston's ranking in the competition at the main event page.

How can I get involved in UH’s RecycleMania efforts?

There are many options for UH campus members to get involved in RecycleMania with varying levels of participation and prizes awarded.

#1: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

The more waste that UH campus members divert from the landfill, the higher UH will be ranked in the nationwide competition. Each university in the RecycleMania competition submits their recycling data once a week to track recycling and waste minimization. UH is participating in the following recycling data collection categories: Grand Champion, Per Capita Classic, Gorilla Prize, Targeted Materials - Cardboard, Waste Minimization.

#2: Engage in the RecycleMania 3R actions challenge.

This RecycleMania hosted competition allows students to support their school by sharing when they recycle, compost, reuse or reduce to generate points. Each time a student texts, tweets or uses the 3R actions app, they’ll increase their university's ranking in the competition over other competing universities.

Tweet your action with #Houston and @RecycleManiacs or text your action with #Houston and #RM2015 to 21212. Whether you text or tweet, stick to the theme for the week: recycle (Feb. 1 to 14), reuse (Feb. 15 to 28), reduce (March 1 to 14), and zero waste (March 15 to 28). Example tweet: "I love to recycle! #Houston @RecycleManiacs".

UH will be hosting the #UHRecycleMania Spring Break Challenge on Twitter in conjuction with this challenge. The winner will receive a Zipcar prize package. Learn more by viewing the UH RecycleMania calendar.

#3: Attend the weekly on-campus events for a chance to win a Kindle Fire HD!

The Office of Sustainability is hosting weekly events to increase awareness of and participation in RecycleMania. View the full UH RecycleMania events calendar to devise your plan to win a Kindle. The more events you attend, the better chance you have to win! Events include: UH RecycleMania Kick-off, UH Recycles Basketball Game, Caught Green Handed, Crafty Coogs, Residential Recycle Raid, How to Become a Rot Star: Composting 101, Wall-E screening, #UHRecycleMania Spring Break Challenge, and the UH RecycleMania Closing Ceremony. Bring a valid Cougar Card to each event to be entered into the raffle.

#4: Compete in the UH competition for small groups: What’s the big idea?

This UH RecycleMania competition is for groups of 2 to 9 students, faculty and/or staff. Teams will propose an idea to the Office of Sustainability and Solid Waste and Recycling to improve recycling or reduce waste on campus. Key university representatives in sustainability and facilities management will judge entries on 1.) how well the idea is communicated 2.) the feasibility to implement the idea on campus and 3.) how impactful the idea would be on campus waste diversion.

Examples of ideas could include creating a requirement for recycling at on-campus events, requiring trash bins be accompanied by recycling bins, creating a student-run compost program, etc. Submissions should be sent to by 11:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13 and include a group name, team member names and UH affiliations. The winning team’s idea will be actively incorporated into the university’s waste diversion plans.

Each member of the winning team will also receive a prize package. Current prizes include a tote bag, bottle and t-shirt from UH Sustainability; a UH poster from Auxiliary Services; a free meal at one of the two dining locations on campus; a free weekend bike rental from UH Outdoor Adventure; school supplies (pens, notepads, folders, erasers, etc.); and reusable to-go utensils. Additional items will be added.

#5: Compete in the UH competition for large groups: Turning thoughts into action.

This UH RecycleMania competition is for groups of 10 or more students, faculty and/or staff who will actively work to improve waste diversion rates on campus. Classes, departments and student organizations are ideal participants.

Ideas will be submitted in advance to and pre-approved by the campus Sustainability Program Manager and Assistant Director for Facilities Management, Solid Waste & Recycling. Once approved, the group will execute the idea and submit evidence of the action (photos and summary) highlighting the recycling or waste minimization efforts they undertook. Key university representatives in sustainability and facilities management will judge the entries on 1.) the most impactful action and 2.) best execution of the action.

Example actions include: hosting a clean-up event that focuses on picking up recyclables and disposing of them properly, making one of their events zero waste (or as close to that as possible), acquiring bins and an indoor recycling bin for their department, etc. Submissions should be sent to by 11:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13 and include a group name, team member names and UH affiliations.

The winning group will receive  a $200 catering credit.