Skip to main content

RecycleManiaThe RecycleMania competition is entering its eighth and final week at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is celebrating the milestone by focusing on compostable food waste.

RecycleMania is a friendly, eight-week competition between universities across the country to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Last year, UT finished third in the Southeastern Conference for per capita recycling. The most recent scoreboard standings have UT in third place in the SEC behind the universities of Florida and Georgia after eight weeks of competition. The final scores will be posted by April 10.

At three zero-waste events this week, employees and volunteers from UT Recycling and Volunteer Dining will work together to compost 100 percent of leftover food.

These waste-not-want-not lunches kicked off Monday at Morrill Dining to raise awareness of UT’s highly successful composting program. The following dining locations also are participating:

  • Café at the Arena inside Thompson-Boling Arena—Wednesday, March 28
  • PCB Café on the first floor of the Presidential Court Building—Friday, March 30

Lunch is served daily at these and other campus dining locations from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to attend any location.

At the zero-waste events, employees will save waste created during food preparation, and volunteers will scrape leftover food waste from plates into compost bins. The food waste will be taken to the UT Recycling compost site adjacent to the UT Medical Center, where it will be turned into nutrient-rich soil for the UT Organic Farm.

“Now that UT Recycling is composting meat and dairy scraps it makes the process a lot easier for our dining staff,” said Samantha Wentworth, Volunteer Dining’s director of Retail Marketing and sustainability project coordinator.

For more information on the 2012 RecycleMania competition, visit To learn more about UT Recycling’s efforts, visit or email For information on Volunteer Dining, visit