RecycleMania: Making Recycling and Waste Management Fun!

                                                                                                    By Karen Meyer

RecycleMania is an annual competition between recycling programs at colleges and universities nationwide that’s aimed at promoting waste reduction activities in their campus communities.  The 630 colleges participating this year began tracking and reporting weights of recycled materials on February 6 for the first week of the eight week tournament.  Thirteen of the participating schools are located in Michigan, including Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, Central Michigan University, and Western Michigan University.  The schools report recycling and trash data each week of the tournament and 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.  The participating colleges can watch how their results match up against other schools and use this to encourage their campus communities to reduce and recycle more.

                                                         Hélène Dryden · The State News

“Recycling aide Joe Rahall of Lansing sweeps up debris from the main floor of the Material Recovery Facility on Monday at the Recycling Center. Sunday marked the beginning of RecycleMania, an eight—week competition among more than 600 colleges and universities.”

The overall goals of the competition are to increase campus recycling participation, raise awareness of college waste management and recycling programs, increase economic opportunities at schools while addressing environmental issues, lower waste generation, and to harbor a sense of school spirit geared towards waste reduction. 

There’s definitely a need for RecycleMania since colleges and universities act as small cities that consume vast amounts of resources and that generate a great deal of waste.  The competition provides a means for campus recycling coordinators and student sustainable organizations to engage their campus communities in recycling in an exciting and uniting way.  It also aims to motivate action by presenting waste reduction in the form of “school rivalry”, which is something any college student can appreciate! 

Recyclemania helps familiarize students with campus environmental programs and promotes more eco-friendly habits among the campus community; in fact, 80% of participating schools in past RecycleMania competitions witnessed a noticeable growth in recycling collection.

For a list of results and more information on the tournament, go to You can also become a Facebook fan of RecycleMania at and follow them on Twitter at


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