RecycleMania Returns to Kent State for Ninth Year

Throw it away or recycle it?

That is the question Kent State University’s Office of Sustainability hopes students, faculty and staff will pause to ask before automatically tossing something in the bin.

Kent State is participating in its ninth annual RecycleMania competition that runs until March 31. Kent State is one of 300 schools competing and one of 14 Ohio schools in the competition.

RecycleMania is a competition held each spring across hundreds of college campuses in the United States and Canada. During this eight-week period, colleges participating report how much trash and recycled material is collected. Each college is then ranked in various categories based on how much recycling they divert from the landfill.

Kent State’s Office of Sustainability has included several initiatives to get the community involved in RecycleMania, including bimonthly prize drawings and a hashtag – #KSURecycles – to use on social media. The competition’s mission is to bring awareness to the importance of recycling and serve as a yearly reminder for the community to reduce and reuse. Various events held during RecycleMania include the E-Cycle Drive and Shred-Mania.   

E-Cycle Drive

The E-Cycle Drive will be held on Feb. 28 and March 7, 14 and 21, from 7:30 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Kent State R-17 parking lot behind Starbucks between South Willow and South Lincoln streets. Members of both the campus and Kent community can recycle used electronics through RET3, an R2-certified recycler, where materials are handled in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Electronics gathered and recycled from this drive are counted toward the competition. For more information about the E-Cycle Drive, visit


The Office of Sustainability is partnering with the Division of Human Resources for Shred-Mania. Shred-Mania is a campus-wide event held for students, faculty and staff to shred any personal documents no longer needed. However, only university property will be counted toward the competition with this event. Shred-Mania will be open Wednesday, March 21, from 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Kent State R-17 parking lot behind Starbucks between South Willow and South Lincoln streets. For more information about Shred-Mania, visit

Leah Graham, Kent State’s outreach and recycling coordinator, describes the recycling competition as a campus-wide effort for students, faculty and staff to contribute to and maintain the university’s sustainability efforts.

“It’s not just about recycling, it’s also about reducing waste and reusing items,” Ms. Graham says. “We like to emphasize those reducing and reusing first because lastly is recycling.”

The results from last year’s RecycleMania show that Kent State recycled more than half a million pounds of recyclable material. Due to these results, the university’s diversion rate – the percentage of total waste that is recycled – has increased.  

“Our recycling diversion rate has doubled since 2012,” Ms. Graham says. “It was at 36 percent last year. For the past three years, in 2015 through 2017, Kent State has always been in the top 25 percent in pounds recycled per person on campus out of all the schools competing every year.”

Melanie Knowles, Kent State’s sustainability manager, hopes to see more participation in the events and activities along with more engagement on social media with the #KSURecycles hashtag.

“It really helps to create a campus norm when people see their colleagues and their fellow students participating in this,” Ms. Knowles says.

Ms. Knowles says outreach has increased steadily due to the Office of Sustainability building upon what it has done with RecycleMania in years past, and she describes the competition as something that grows steadily each year.

“Everybody at Kent State University – students, faculty and staff – are participants in RecycleMania,” Ms. Knowles says. “If you’re on campus and you throw away or recycle anything, you are a participant. We’re really trying to encourage everyone that they are part of the team, and we are asking everyone on the team to step up to reduce, reuse and recycle during the eight weeks of Recyclemania.”

So, before throwing that item in the trashcan, stop to think and remember #KSURecycles!

For more information about RecycleMania, visit

POSTED: Friday, February 9, 2018 10:37 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 3, 2022 01:02 AM
Emily Fulmer and Luke Armour