RecycleMania has begun!


RecycleMania is an eight-week benchmarking competition between nearly 400 colleges in the U.S. and Canada to see who can divert the most trash from landfill. Beginning February 7, WashU and other colleges will report the amount of recycling, composting, and trash they collect each week. Last year, WashU attained a 44.65% diversion rate, meaning just over 1 million pounds of materials were recycled or composted compared to the 2.4 million pounds of total waste collected. This placed us 54th out of 398 colleges. This was a vast improvement from our 107th place finish in 2014. WashU did especially well in the electronics waste category, ranking 16th in the nation. WashU’s swift rise up the ranking is promising, but competition is still tough. For two years in a row, Antioch University in Seattle held first place by diverting 96.8% of its waste from landfill, beating out second-place University of Missouri – Kansas City by more than 10 percentage points.

Despite the competitive nature of the event, the universities collectively make a huge difference. Although participating U.S. universities accounted for only 20% of college students in the country last year, together they composted and recycled enough to prevent the release of 129,411 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. That means that in eight weeks, these colleges reduced as much as the yearly emissions of 25,375 cars. RecycleMania hopes that the competition will create more “avid recyclers” who continue to create an impact long after the competition is over and the winners are announced.