New RecycleMania champions crowned

New RecycleMania champions crowned

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

This year's RecycleMania Tournament has concluded, with 523 participating colleges and universities collectively recovering 90.3 million pounds or recyclables and organic materials.

The eight-week competition, which ran through February and March 2013, seeks to use college rivalries and schools' competitive spirits to drive waste reduction and recycling efforts at U.S. and Canadian colleges.

During the 13th annual tournament, updated weekly rankings allowed schools to track their performance in eight categories, including recycling rate, overall recycling by weight, lowest amount of total waste, as well as per capita recovery for paper, cardboard, cans and bottles and food waste. Colleges also participated in several special categories, as well as the "Game Day: Basketball" category, which ranked schools based on recyclables collected at a single home basketball game.

The colleges and universities that took home top prizes in the three primary categories include:

  • The University of Missouri-Kansas City, which took home the "Grand Champion" title for recycling 86 percent of scrap during the competition.
  • California State University-San Marcos won the "Per Capita Classic" by collecting 53 pounds of recyclables per person, the highest total pounds of recyclables collected of any participating college.
  • Valencia Community College in Kissimmee, Florida won the "Waste Minimization" award for generating only 3.20 pounds per person, the lowest amount of recyclables and trash generated per capita at any participating college.


Alec Cooley, director of recycling programs for national beautification organization Keep America Beautiful and program manager for RecycleMania, says that while the organizers of the competition will be doing a survey to get more feedback on how things went, he saw some positive improvements in this year's event.

"Overall, we had a drop in the number of schools participating, but we saw an increase in [the volume] materials recycled," he says.

This year, e-scrap was introduced as a material category in the competition for the first time, with about 86 schools participating, he says. Of the participating schools, the University of San Diego came out on top, collecting 80,000 pounds of e-scrap or 8 pounds per capita.

Plastic film was another category of material introduced to the competition this year, as it has become used more frequently on college campuses, says Cooley. However, schools did not collect a large volume this year. Bowdoin College in Maine collected the most out of participating school at 1,410 pounds, or about half a pound per capita.

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