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Campus Race to Zero Waste

The 2021 Campus Race to Zero Waste is a fair and friendly competition between colleges and universities nationwide to benchmark landfill waste, food waste diversion, and recycling. UT Dallas has participated since 2013… and this year is no exception!

In 2020, we ranked 16th out of 144 competing schools in the food organics category, 114th out of 144 in the diversion category, and 103rd out of 191 in the per capita waste category. Although our ranking in the food organics category is a success story, there is lots of room for improvement.

Temoc at RecycleMania 2020

The eight-week competition already kicked off on January 31st, leaving the question of how to reduce our ecological footprint at UT Dallas up to the campus community. A group of sustainability-oriented clubs and students are already forming a coalition to spread awareness about the importance of recycling and being mindful of waste – and not only over the next two months.

A mere glimpse at the statistics from 2020’s competition demonstrates that this nationwide initiative supplies the momentum needed to produce a global impact. With 300 colleges and universities participating in 42 states, the millions of individuals who are involved get the chance to cultivate a safer environment not only for people but also for wildlife. How?

Last year, 380 million single-use plastic containers were cut out, 48.6 million pounds of waste were either recycled or composted, and the release of 70, 875 metric tons of carbon dioxide was prevented. To put the last point into perspective, this feat can be equated to our atmosphere being spared from contamination with annual emissions from 15,047 cars.

The Office of Sustainability at UT Dallas provides many resources, options, and guidelines for recycling and reducing waste on campus, most of which can be found here. One action is all it takes to start making our world healthier and our habits sustainable, whether it be one click to explore a website or one thought about how to properly dispose of used items.

Written by Anastasia Whittemore


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