2016 RecycleMania is Coming to a Campus Near You!
Basketball isn’t the only competition happening this spring. The 2016 RecycleMania launches in February and students at colleges and universities across the country will be rallying to see who can recycle and reduce the most waste. Are you working with a local campus on litter, recycling or other projects? Are you looking for a new opportunity to engage with a local campus? RecycleMania is a great program to build a relationship and engage students. Affiliates are encouraged to partner with participating campuses or even reach out to those who haven’t in the past.
All interested school recycling coordinators (and affiliates wanting more background on the program) are encouraged to join a 2016 RecycleMania overview webinar this coming Monday, December 14 at 1pm ET.  Click here to sign up for this and other upcoming webinars.

You can also learn more about RecycleMania by visiting Contact Alec Cooley to discuss opportunities to recruit and partner with campuses as part of RecycleMania this spring.

RecycleMania 2015 Report

RecycleMania 2015 was another huge success, with almost 400 schools participating! The schools that participated recycled or composted over 80 million pounds of material. This year we had participants from 49 states and the District of Columbia.
We’ve compiled a 2015 RecycleMania Report with more detail on the program’s impact and reach. You can access it here to read more.

Congratulations to Ohio State University on Winning the 2015 RecycleMania’s New Category: 3R Actions Challenge 

New Category: 3R Actions Challenge RecycleMania piloted a new category, the 3R Actions Challenge, which awards points to schools each time students text or tweet about reducing, reusing or recycling. The goal is to reinforce waste reduction behavior by recognizing individual actions through campus social networks and by challenging students to achieve ongoing personal environmental benchmarks.

RecycleMania partnered with myActions to introduce the 3R Actions Challenge.
• 42 participating colleges
• 3,981 students
• 32,622 3R Actions
• 139,235 items kept out of the landfill
Winning Schools:
• Huge – The Ohio State University 
• Large – University of Texas, Arlington
• Medium – University of Albany
• Small – Chatham University


RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over a 8-week period each spring, schools report recycling and trash data which are then ranked according to who collects the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate. With each week’s reports and rankings, participating schools watch how their results fluctuate against other schools and use this to rally their campus communities to reduce and recycle more.

While the stated goal for RecycleMania is to have a fair and friendly recycling competition, the program’s underlying value is to help campuses increase recycling and waste reduction activity  by raising awareness among students and staff and by providing the catalyst for colleges and universities to build and expand their programs on campus. RecycleMania participation in many cases puts a recycling program on the front page of the campus paper, helping to build administrative recognition and support. It also provides a promotional opportunity to showcase new collection or waste reduction activities. By focusing on performance metrics, the program encourages campus efforts to benchmark improvement over time.

RecycleMania began in 2001 when the recycling coordinators at Ohio University and Miami University, looking for a way to motivate their campuses, challenged each other to see which one could collect the most recycling.  Miami went on to beat Ohio that first year and RecycleMania was born!  RecycleMania has been gaining momentum ever since, involving 630 campuses in 2011.

National recognition is provided to the winning school in each category on the RecycleMania website and in a national press release. Winning schools receive an award made out of recyclable materials, and win the right to host that category’s special traveling trophy for the coming year.

Overall Goals for RecycleMania

  1. Motivate students and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation.
  2. Generate attention and support for campus recycling programs.
  3. Encourage colleges to measure and benchmark recycling activity in their effort to improve their programs over time.
  4. Have a fair and friendly competition.

Why is there a Need?

More than 40 years after the first Earth Day celebration recycling is commonplace in many communities, yet a surprisingly high amount of recyclables still go in the trash. Many colleges and universities have extensive recycling collection and education programs, yet are challenged in motivating students and staff to participate. By framing recycling in competitive terms, RecycleMania seeks to tap school spirit as a motivator to reach students who may not otherwise respond to environmental messages. In the process, the program works to reinforce the practice of recycling at an age when many college students are forming the habits and values they will carry the rest of their lives.

RecycleMania can have a direct impact on participating campuses. Well over half of campuses surveyed in any given year report a noticeable increase in recycling that is attributable to the school’s participation. This fact is supported by results which show the overall recycling rate (recycling as a percentage of waste stream) for all schools combined typically increases from the first half of the competition to the second (in 2011, the rate increased 1.42% from 24.37% to 27.79%). Participation can also benefit colleges recycling programs by bringing attention and in many cases additional resources to expand their efforts. Surveys of campus program coordinators have shown as many as 75% responding that their participation in RecycleMania drew the attention of campus administrators. As many as one quarter of respondents have credited their participation in gaining additional support to expand collection and education efforts.

RecycleMania is a trademarked program of the RecycleMania Steering Committee, with management support provided by Keep America Beautiful.


FAQ – Registration/Log In

  • How do I sign my school up for RecycleMania? 
    Contact the Helpline ( / 843 278 7686) about involving your school in RecycleMania.
  • Can colleges and universities outside of the United States participate?
    Yes. Any post-secondary institution may participate regardless of their location.
  • What is the difference between the Competition Division and Benchmark Division?
    Schools participating in the Competition Division are included in the formal competition rankings. They are required to participate with their entire campus and to track and report their weight data according to set standards. Benchmark Division schools are not included in the formal rankings, but are able to informally compare themselves against other schools from their individual Campus Profile page. Schools in the Benchmark Division do not have to meet the same reporting standards and can participate with only a part of their campus.
  • When I try to login in I receive the following message: “Your account is inactive. Please check your email for the activation code.”
    After creating an account on the ReTRAC system you must activate your account using the link in the automated message sent to your email address.  If you did not receive the activation email it may have been caught in a junkmail filter or the address was incorrectly entered on the account form. If you are unable to locate the account email message, for assistance.
  • Does the school have to participate with the entire campus participate or can we just include one part of campus, such as the residence halls?
    Schools must include weight data from their entire institution to be ranked in the formal Competition Division. You may participate in the Benchmark Division with your entire institution or only a subset of campus that you define.  Schools participating with a subset of campus will need to provide the population for that area.
  • What is ReTRAC Connect?
    ReTRAC is a recycling and waste data tracking and reporting system developed by Emerge Knowledge, an official partner of RecycleMania. All RecycleMania registration and data reporting is conducted on the ReTRAC Connect website. Separate from RecycleMania, the ReTRAC Connect  can be used by colleges, municipalities and other institutions to manage  the collection data on a subscription basis. Information provided for RecycleMania on the ReTRAC Connect system is confidential and will not be used by Emerge Knowledge for unrelated business unless specifically requested by the registrant. For more information about Emerge Knowledge or ReTRAC Connect, visit