LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) — We are all told about the impact recycling can have on the environment.

The University of Kentucky is one of many schools looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Now through March 25, 2023, UK is taking part in a friendly competition to promote increased efforts for recycling, called Campus Race to Zero Waste.

The school recycled nearly 1,100 tons of materials during the entirety of 2022 and wants to use the contest to increase that number in 2023.

Campus Race to Zero Waste is more than just a competition for UK however, as the university is looking to become 90% zero-waste by 2030.

That means 90% of materials that would normally end up in a landfill, would get repurposed instead. Whether that’s turning food scraps into compost or using recycled plastic to make new water bottles.

Ryan Lark from UK’s Recycling Department said contests like this are a great way to reach their goal and reframe the conversation surrounding recycling.

“It’s really small efforts that you can do little by little,” Lark explained. “So, we never asked anyone to make huge, big changes because huge, big changes tend to get lost very quickly. So, make a small change, maybe something you have a habit already that you know that you should be doing better on. Try to zero in on that.”


Lark also noted that there are plenty of items we throw away on a daily basis, that can be repurposed. This includes aluminum foil, paper cups from your morning coffee, or even the boxes frozen food comes in from the grocery store.

If you aren’t sure if something can be recycled, however, Lark said the answer isn’t far away.

“Use that as an effort, an excuse to learn what is what you’re doing and take those incremental steps and then tell a friend recycling is important, not just because it’s something we might or we think we should do, but it’s important to understand that recycling does work,” Lark said.

To learn more about UK’s recycling measures, you can follow UK Recycling on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tik Tok.