Kent State wins awards in Campus Race to Zero Waste contest; Akron Beacon Journal; July 13, 2021

Kent State University holds a free electronics recycling event that is open to Kent State students, faculty, staff and Kent community members.

Kent State University holds a free recycling event that is open to students, faculty, staff and Kent community members.


View article

The National Wildlife Federation recently awarded Kent State University first place in two categories from the 2021 Campus Race to Zero Waste competition: Zero Waste and Electronics Recycling – Total Pounds Recycled. 

Kent State competed against 24 colleges in the Electronics Recycled category and won the Zero Waste category. The competition occurred during the eight-week period of Jan. 31 to March 27.

Melanie Knowles, manager of sustainability at Kent State, said she appreciates the recognition and is excited about the achievements of the university.

“It is an honor for Kent State to achieve these wins, and the credit goes to everyone who has made an effort to be conscious of their waste and recycling,” Knowles said. “We know that this doesn’t just happen during the competition. Our community is striving toward zero waste year-round.”

Campus Race to Zero Waste, previously known as RecycleMania, is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. The competition is managed by the National Wildlife Federation and governed by Recyclemania Inc.

Colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week. Each university is ranked in various categories based on who recycles the most on a per capita basis, which schools have the best recycling rate as a percentage of total waste and which schools generate the least amount of combined trash and recycling.

Electronics Recycling is a special category that tracks the total amount of computers, printers, consumer electronics and other scrap or materials that can be refurbished collected across campus. 

Kent State’s Office of Sustainability hosted four drop-off events throughout the spring semester that were open to faculty, staff, students and Kent community members. A total of 413 people sent 38,316 pounds of electronics to be recycled through an R2 certified recycler, where materials are handled in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

The Zero Waste category is designed to help schools focus on waste reduction and zero waste efforts campus-wide. Participating schools track all sources of their waste generation in three campus buildings during the competition period.

Kent State also hosted a total of 12 reuse education and awareness events on campus that contributed to points toward the Zero Waste rankings. One of the events the Office of Sustainability organized was the hall-versus-hall competition, where residence halls competed to determine which could generate the least waste. 

The Kent State University Campus Race to Zero Waste Custodial Award was another reuse education awareness event. People nominated custodians to receive an award because of their outstanding efforts during Campus Race to Zero Waste. Twelve custodians were recognized with award certificates, letters and prizes for their outstanding performance during Campus Race to Zero Waste and their continued care of building spaces.

To review results from the 2021 competition, visit

POSTED: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 12:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 11:44 AM