JUNE 2009

RecycleMania results for 2009 are released

Every spring, students across the country become RecycleManiacs, competing for national supremacy to determine which school can reduce, reuse and recycle the most campus waste.

RecycleMania wrapped up its 2009 college recycling contest in late March, with over 69.4 million pounds of recyclables and organics recovered from 510 colleges and universities across the country.

The “Waste Minimization” top three finalists, determined by the lowest overall amount of waste (recyclables and trash) per person over ten weeks, are:

North Lake College (8.70 pounds)- Irving, TX, Santa Monica College (9.50 pounds) – Santa Monica, CA, and Northwest State Community College (11.41 pounds) – Archbold, OH

The “Gorilla Prize” top three finalists, determined by the highest cumulative weight of recyclables over ten weeks, are:

Gorilla Prize

•Rutgers University (2,131,378 pounds) – New Brunswick, NJ

•Harvard University (998,411.86 pounds) – Cambridge, MA

•Stanford University (893,414 pounds) – Stanford, CA

Targeted Material (pounds per person over ten weeks)


•Stephens College (40.87 pounds) – Columbia, MO

•Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (40.29 pounds) – Needham, MA

•California State University, San Marcos (33.05 pounds) – San Marcos, CA

Corrugated Cardboard:

•McNeese State University (41.87 pounds) – Lake Charles, LA

•Kalamazoo College (28.13 pounds) – Kalamazoo, MI

•United States Coast Guard Academy (20.96 pounds) – New London, CT

Bottles and Cans:

Kalamazoo College (19.03 pounds) – Kalamazoo, MI

McNeese State University (13.66 pounds) – Lake Charles, LA

SUNY at Binghamton (12.90 pounds) – Binghamton, NY

Food Service Organics:

Bard College (26.64 pounds) - Annandale-on-Hudson, NY

Middlebury College (26.16 pounds) – Middlebury, VT

University of San Francisco (23.30 pounds) – San Francisco, CA

Top schools in each category earn “bragging rights”, while the winners of each are recognized with an award made of recycled glass.

“RecycleMania’s success comes from its ability to use competitive spirit and campus rivalries to motivate students who are less likely to respond to ‘save the earth’ kinds of messages,” according to Stacy Wheeler, professor at the University of North Florida and co-founder of the RecycleMania competition.

The spirit of friendly competition sparked huge environmental gains. The total amount of recyclables and organic materials recovered during the 2009 competition added up to 69.4 million pounds, which in turn prevented the release of 88,739 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). In real world terms, this reduction in greenhouse gases is equivalent to the annual emissions from 16,187 passenger cars; electricity use of 12,258 homes; or burning of 462 railcars’ worth of coal.

Colleges and universities chose to participate in one of two divisions, either the Competition or Benchmark. The Competition Division houses the traditional competitive rankings based on standard tracking and reporting criteria.

The Benchmark Division allows schools to unofficially compare themselves with others and to promote RecycleMania on campus without the formal reporting requirements of the competitive ranking.

Within each division, schools participate in any of eight categories, including the “Grand Champion,” which measures recycling as a percentage of the total waste generation; the “Per Capita Classic,” which measures the largest amount of combined recyclables per person; the “Waste Minimization” competition, which tracks the lowest amount of waste per person; and the “Gorilla” Prize, which acknowledges the schools with the highest total combined recycling weights. In addition to these main categories, schools also compete in targeted material categories on a per capita basis.

The “Grand Champion” top three finalists, determined by the percentage of overall waste that is recycled over ten weeks, are:

  • California State University, San Marcos (78.09 percent) – San Marcos, California.
  • Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering (64.22 percent) – Needham, Massachusetts.
  • New Mexico State University (64.02 percent) – Las Cruces, New Mexico.