Ready, set, recycle: University in national contest starting Feb. 3

Recyclemania 'pushes us to reduce even more waste as a campus'
​Jerry Poling | January 25, 2019

With dedicated recycling, composting, energy-saving and other campuswide initiatives, UW-Stout is focused on reducing its carbon footprint and educating students about sustainability.

The university is putting its efforts to the test again this year in Recyclemania, a friendly, nationwide competition among postsecondary institutions to see how they stack up.

Recyclemania logoThe eight-week competition begins Sunday, Feb. 3. Universities provide weekly reports about their recycling rates, with champions in various divisions crowned at the end.

Since 2014, UW-Stout has been the leader among UW System schools that compete. UW-Stout’s combined recycling and composting rate is about 50 percent, meaning it prevents as much waste going to landfills as it sends to them.

“We are always excited to compete in Recyclemania because it brings to light how reducing our waste is integral to making our campus more sustainable,” said Sarah Rykal, UW-Stout sustainability director.

“Recyclemania helps us to affirm all the great work we’re doing to divert waste from the landfill, and it pushes us to reduce even more waste as a campus. We’ve done really well with our composting and recycling efforts, and we can always improve more.”

In 2018, UW-Stout again was named one of 399 “green” colleges in the U.S. by Princeton Review, an education services company.

UW-Stout students, faculty and staff are encouraged to recycle and compost campuswide.“Our campus works really hard to be more sustainable in many ways, from conserving energy to offering sustainable transportation options to reducing our waste,” Rykal said.

Areas of environmental stewardship and sustainability at UW-Stout include: a Sustainability Steering Committee; sustainability-focused undergraduate and graduate degree programs; part of the university food budget allocated to local and organic food; and transportation options, including Bikeshare, car-sharing and car/van pooling programs, free or reduced price transit passes, a free shuttle program and free or reduced parking passes for car/van pooling vehicles.

Other ways in which UW-Stout incorporates sustainability into its academic programs and operations are:

  • Campuswide compost and recycling collection system, resulting in a 48 percent decrease in landfill waste
  • A new 10-kilowatt solar array at Merle M. Price Commons, funded by the Stout Student Association’s Green Fee
  • LED light retrofits in 13 campus buildings, exterior walkways and parking lots
  • Opportunities for student sustainability projects
  • Community partnerships with the Joint Sustainability Working Group, Sustainable Dunn, Tainter Menomin Lake Improvement Association and more
  • Bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sustainable management, as well as a sustainability minor program
  • Sustainability training at student orientation
  • Outreach campaigns, including Recyclemania, Biggest Reducer Energy Competition, We Turn Lights Off Here and I Love Tap Water
  • Outreach materials through the Sustainable Stout Facebook and Instagram pages, sustainability website, various guides, posters and brochures
  • A student-run garden, UW-Sprout Campus Garden.

Learn more at the Sustainable Stout website.



UW-Stout students, faculty and staff are encouraged to recycle and compost campuswide.

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