GameDay Recycling Challenge Announces 2018 Competition Winners


Volunteers from LSU clean up after game day!


RESTON, Virginia (Jan. 14, 2019)   While it is no easy feat to claim the National Football Championship and the National GameDay Recycling Championship in the same year, Clemson University has done just that.  Congratulations to both Clemson University and the University of Rochester for taking the top spots for “Total Recycled” and “Top Diversion Rate, respectively, in the 2018 GameDay Recycling Challenge (GDRC) — the nation’s premiere collegiate football waste reduction competition.  The GameDay Recycling Challenge is organized through a partnership of the National Wildlife Federation, College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), RecycleMania, Inc., and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Additionally, several competitors have received this year’s GameDay honorable mentions including the University of Texas-Austin for their excellence in benchmarking and data tracking and Auburn University for their excellence in promoting the GameDay Challenge through social media, touting them as “Schools To Watch”.  

Clemson University is the national champion in the Total Recycling category, with 123,661 pounds of material recycled, composted or donated.  The University of Rochester is the national champion in the Diversion category (recycling, plus organics composting and recovery as a percent of total trash) with a 91.71 percent diversion rate. Clemson previously won the Total Recycling category in 2017. The University of Rochester wins the Diversion category for the first time, coming in second place in 2017. Gold, Silver, and Bronze for both categories are listed below.


1 Clemson University 123,661
2 Louisiana State University 116,740
3 University of Texas – Austin 94,746


1 University of Rochester 91.71%
2 Clemson University 88.92%
3 Duke University 85.07%


“We are so thrilled to be able to achieve the National GameDay Recycling Challenge award for most recycling at a game this year. For this year’s competition we were able to make major increases because of our tailgate culture wanting to make a difference by recycling more and the impact we were able to have through our stadium’s suite recycling and composting program,” said Clemson University Recycling Manager, Dave VanDeventer.  

Winning the national title is a compliment to the hard-working team at Clemson University.  They relied on the university’s recycling team, Athletics, Dining staff, student volunteers, and fans to make this happen.  VanDeventer says that the GameDay Recycling Challenge win is even more special this year because the football team won the National Championship.  “We were able to support the football team during home games behind the scenes,” said VanDeventer. “Go Tigers!”


The 2018 GDRC pitted 65 colleges and universities in a fun and friendly competition designed to engage college football fans to see who could recycle the most and reduce the most waste. The competition reached 7.2 million fans at 137 games, based on reported stadium attendance numbers. Participating schools recycled or composted 2.5 million pounds of game-day waste during the fall season, which broke down to recycling over 2 million pounds of bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, and other materials. In addition, more than 485,894 pounds of organic materials were composted or recovered, including pre- and post-consumer food waste and compostable serviceware. These collective efforts prevented the emission of 2,683 MTCO2E (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) of greenhouse gases, equivalent to removing over 583 cars from the road for a year.

“We are very proud to receive this honor and thank the organizers for challenging us all to make big improvements in waste reduction,” said Amy Kadrie, University of Rochester Sustainability Coordinator. “Through the lessons we have learned over time, and the support of all who are involved, we have managed to maintained a true zero waste status for the past four years straight yielding in big results on our small scale operation.”

The GDRC ranks participating schools based on the quantity of recyclables, food organics and other materials diverted from the landfill at college football stadiums and tailgating areas. During the competition, schools tracked weights for individual games, with the totals used to rank schools nationally and by athletic conference. Registration for the 2019 competition will kick off in early August 2019.

Click here for full results.





About the College & University Recycling Coalition

The College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC) is a membership-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance recycling and sustainable materials management at colleges and universities. CURC represents a vibrant community of recycling professionals in higher education on over 1,000 college campuses across the United States. CURC members connect with each other through an active email listserv and at gatherings in conjunction with state and national conferences. CURC provides support to collegiate recycling programs through technical assistance, education, and training, including a webinar series, annual workshops, and the development of best-practices manuals and toolkits. For more information, visit

About RecycleMania

RecycleMania launched in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. The contest has expanded from two schools in 2001 to over 325 colleges and universities in 2017 spanning 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. Over an eight-week period, campuses compete to see which institution can recycle the most and waste the least. The RecycleMania program is governed by a non-profit 501c (3) organization called RecycleMania, Inc. made up of a board of directors who are recycling and sustainability managers from a variety of participating universities. For complete competition details, visit

About National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation, America’s oldest and largest conservation organization, works across the country to unite Americans from all walks of life in giving wildlife a voice. We’ve been on the front lines for wildlife since 1936, fighting for the conservation values that are woven into the fabric of our nation’s collective heritage. For more information, visit