4.4 Million Students Recycle and Compost 79 Million Pounds in 2016 RecycleMania Tournament

by | Apr 18, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 18, 2016) – Richland College, a two-year community college in Dallas, Texas, has been crowned the Grand Champion of the 2016 RecycleMania competition with a recycling rate of more than 82 percent. RecycleMania is the nation’s premier waste reduction and recycling competition among colleges and universities, managed by Keep America Beautiful.

The 2016 tournament featured 350 schools participating from 48 states in the United States, the District of Columbia and Canada, with an enrollment of 4.4 million students; the American contingent of schools represented nearly one in four U.S. college students.  

Competing colleges and universities are ranked according to how much recycling, trash and food waste they collect over two months. Between the Feb. 7 kickoff and the final recycling weigh-in on April 2, participating schools recycled or composted 79.3 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of 122,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to preventing annual emissions from 24,000 cars.

Another category, gaining traction is the “Food Service Organics” competition category. This year’s winner was Union College in Schenectady, New York, which recovered more than 36 lbs. of food waste per person during the competition.  The “Game Day: Basketball” category, in its third year, brought excitement courtside, as Loyola University Chicago recycled 94 percent of its materials during a home basketball game versus rival Wichita State.

The colleges and universities taking home top prizes include:

  • “Grand Champion” (percentage of overall waste that is recycled): Richland College, Dallas, Texas (82 percent)
  • “Per Capita Classic” (total lbs. of recyclables per person): Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California (67 lbs.)
  • “Waste Minimization” (least overall waste per person):  North Lake College, Irvine, Texas (4 lbs.)

Complete results for all 13 categories can be found at https://recyclemania.org, including a breakout that shows how schools performed by athletic conference, institution size, state, and other groupings. The national winners of each category are recognized with an award made from recycled materials.

“RecycleMania participants have again demonstrated innovations in recycling and new ways to reduce waste,” said Stacy Wheeler, president of RecycleMania, Inc. “These campus efforts will influence students’ lifelong recycling habits, which will ultimately help to address some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.”

“Research shows people are more likely to recycle when they see it as part of the culture around them,” said Brenda Pulley, senior vice president of recycling, Keep America Beautiful. “RecycleMania provides us with an opportunity to heighten awareness about the importance of recycling among college students, and help make recycling participation a core component of the college experience. Our hope is that these recycling behaviors stick with them throughout their life, creating a new generation of community stewards.”

Participating schools included Stanford University, Arizona State University, Ohio State University and Rutgers University, among others. The competition is made possible with the sponsorship support of Alcoa Foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, CyclePoint® from SourceAmerica® and Rubbermaid Commercial Products®.

“Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation congratulate and thank the hundreds of students and universities who challenged themselves and each other to clean up their campuses by reducing waste,” said Alice Truscott, program manager, Alcoa Foundation. “We hope this competition fosters lifelong positive recycling behaviors that will have a lasting impact far beyond our campuses and schools, and that the winners of this competition continue to act as champions for sustainability.”

“At Coca-Cola, we are committed to reducing waste in communities by increasing recycling. But, we know we can’t do it alone. By working together with other businesses and organizations through initiatives like RecycleMania, we are able to have the greatest positive impact,” said Bruce Karas, vice president of environment and sustainability at Coca-Cola North America. “RecycleMania is a great way for students to get involved in their school recycling program and create lasting habits that will benefit communities well into the future.”

“Rubbermaid Commercial Products is proud to have been a part of the RecycleMania team this year.  Congratulations to the winners and all of the participants who have worked to improve recycling rates at our top colleges and universities,” said Kristine Sickels, senior vice president of marketing, Rubbermaid Commercial Products.

Since the competition launched in 2001, millions of students from 760 colleges and universities have recycled and composted over 820 million pounds of material during the tournament timeframe. Together, tournament participants have prevented the release of nearly 2.3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which is comparable to removing 524,600 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.

About RecycleMania
The RecycleMania program is governed by a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization called RecycleMania, Inc. made up of a board of directors who are recycling and sustainability managers from participating universities. RecycleMania partnered with the US EPA’s WasteWise program, College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), Keep America Beautiful, Food Recovery Network, National Wildlife Federation and Purposeful Networks. For complete details, visit RecycleMania.org.