RecycleMania offers different levels of participation depending on a school’s goals and ability to track and report weight data.  Review the category options below to determine where you would like to compete.  Schools can compete in as many categories as they would like.

Winners of the national Classic 8 Week Tournament and the special categories will receive an award and national recognition.

Classic 8 Week Tournament

The classic tournament is the main eight-week competition.  It involves three main categories, Diversion, Per Capita Classic and Food Organics.  Schools can choose to participate in one or both of these categories.  Data is reported and rankings are displayed weekly throughout the eight-week competition.  


Recyclables, Food Organics, and Trash weights reported.

Stephen K Gaski Per Capita Classic

Recyclables weights reported (no trash weights). The Most Improved school over 2 years will be recognized in this category.

Food Organics

Food waste and any organic materials handled alongside food waste reported. Organics generated in office and campus residential settings and special events can be included in addition to what is collected from dining facilities.

Special Categories

The following categories require reporting only one time at the end of the eight-week competition.  National winners are awarded for each category.

GameDay Basketball

Competition based on recycling and waste diversion at a single home basketball game.

“E-cycleMania” Electronics

Competition based on collection of scrap electronics over one-month period.

“Race to Zero Waste” Building Competition

Competition based on comprehensive effort to reduce, reuse and recycle the greatest amount of waste from a single designated building.

Campus Engagement Case Study Competition


Bragging Rights Categories

Similar to Diversion and Per Capita Classic, the following “bragging rights” categories are based the eight-week system of regularly updated results. These additional categories allow schools to identify and focus their participation in areas where they have greater interest or stronger results. Though not formally recognized at the national level, schools can set goals and communicate their performance in these categories to local audiences.

The Per Capita Classic Most Improved category allows schools to compete against themselves. The school which has improved its Per Capita Category score (pounds recycled per person) the most from its previous year's score will be named the Per Capita Classic Most Improved category winner. To be eligible for this category, schools must have submitted all eight weeks of the previous year's data and all eight weeks of the current competition year's data.

In the Waste Minimization category schools compete to see which produces the least amount of recyclables, food organics and trash on a per person basis. Where other categories recognize school efforts to collect the recyclables generated on campus, this competition focuses on their efforts to reduce the amount of waste generated, including recyclables.  Results are calculated by combining the core recyclable materials (paper, cardboard and cans and bottles), food organics and the total trash weights for a campus and dividing this number with the campus’s population figure. Schools are recognized based on the lowest overall per person quantity.

Results are calculated using the following equation:

Weight of Recyclables + Food Organics + Weight of Trash
Campus Population

Participation in the Waste Minimization competition may be credited by a school as one of their two required “tangible actions” under the President’s Climate Commitment. For more information about the Commitment rules, visit:

The Total Recycling  category recognizes schools that recycle the highest gross tonnage of combined paper, cardboard and bottle and cans regardless of campus population. Winners of this competition are typically large universities with extensive recycling program.

There are three separate targeted material categories for Paper, Cardboard and Cans and Bottles. In each case, results are calculated to recognize schools recycling the largest amount of the targeted material on a per capita basis. To participate in a targeted category, schools must be able to track the material quantities separate from any other materials. Schools that collect the different material types mixed together (i.e. paper and cans & bottles placed in the same recycling bin) through a co-mingled or single stream system are typically not included in a targeted category unless they have an accurate way of determining what percentage of a mixed weight is specifically paper, cardboard or cans and bottles.

Results are calculated using the following equation:

Weight of Material Type
------------------------------------------ = XX.XX lbs.
Campus Population