University of Missouri Kansas City
Six-time RecycleMania participant University of Missouri Kansas City (UMKC) beat out the competition to win the 2013 Grand Champion title. Over the course of the eight-week competition, the UMKC community achieved an impressive 86% recycling and composting rate . With hundreds of individuals helping to coordinate RecycleMania events this year, the university has come a long way since they put up “two or three posters” for their first RecycleMania in 2008.
Sustainability Coordinator Kaye Johnston attributes the success to campus-wide participation in RecycleMania and the University’s public commitment to achieving zero waste by 2015. Johnston said that recycling has become a part of the campus culture since they set their zero-waste goal, but that they always see a spike in recycling during the RecycleMania tournament.
UMKC students organize an annual peer-to-peer education program for RecycleMania. This year’s theme was “Recycle Me Right,” and students hung signs, gave out RecycleMania swag, and talked with students about recycling and composting during peak dining hours. The University’s campus dining facilities compost almost all containers and utensils, including straws.
Johnston said that the competitive spirit of RecycleMania really permeated the community. “We’re going to win!” was the hopeful mantra heard around campus. To promote recycling, UMKC uses community-based social marketing theory to prompt, reward, and give feedback on recycling behavior. Johnston has seen a peak in recycling each year during RecycleMania followed by a smaller, but sustained, increase in recycling. Just six years ago, UMKC was at a 23 percent recycling rate.
And the recycling success does not end here. “We’re going to make our zero waste goal by 2015,” says Johnston.