Campus Race to Zero Waste

The Campus Race to Zero Waste: January 31st through March 27th

Formerly known as RecycleMania, the Campus Race to Zero Waste is an annual 8-week competition, which challenges colleges and universities across the United States and Canada to collect the largest volume of recyclable materials. The goals of the competition are to benchmark our school’s recycling and waste reduction efforts against other campuses, reduce waste, lower the school’s environmental footprint, and to generate attention and support for recycling and waste reduction programs.

Past Rankings & Results:

Last year, during the 2020 competition, The University of Maryland obtained one of the strongest finishes since the inception of the competition in 2011. The chart below shows the last three years of competition results.

UMD's RecycleMania Highlights of 2020:

  • Diverted 52.81% of waste away from the landfill (into recycling or compost)
  • Ranked of #1 in Maryland
  • Ranked #1 in the Big10
  • Ranked #25 Nationally

This year we are looking to do even better and we need YOUR help!

RecycleMania Results: 2018-2020





 Rates of Waste Recycle or Compost (diverted from landfill)




 Diversion- National Ranking 

 25th of 145

 35th of 159  

 41st of 171

 Diversion- State Ranking 

 1st of 5

 1st of 5

 1st of 5

 Diversion- Big10 Ranking

 1st of 7

 2nd of 8

 3rd of 9

 Amount of Waste Recycled Per Person ('Per Capita Classic')

 6.8 lbs/pereson

 11 lbs/person

 10.1 lbs/person

 Per Capita National Ranking

 82nd of 192

 83rd of 214

 106th of 230

 Per Capita State Ranking

 3rd of 7

 6th of 7

 3rd of 6

 Big10 Ranking

 5th of 7

 5th of 9

 7th of 9

 Food/Organics (amount composted)

 19.3 points

 19.6 points

 19.4 points

 National Ranking 

 56th of 144

 57th of 148

 60 of 169


In 2020, 300 colleges and universities throughout North America participated in the Campus Race to Zero Waste competition. The infographic below highlights the cumulative results of the year’s competition.

The 2021 Competition:

Each week, the university’s waste data will be entered into the competition dashboard and results will be given periodically throughout the competition.  During this year’s competition, the university will participate in the following categories:

  • Diversion - Recyclables, food organics, and trash weights reported

  • Per Capita - Recyclable weights reported (no trash weights)

  • Food Organics - Food waste and any organic materials handled alongside total food waste reported. Organics generated in office and campus residential settings and special events can be included in addition to what is collected from diding facilities. 

  • Electronics Recycling - Competition based on collection of scrap electronics over one-month period.

  • Case Study Competition - Share best practices in promoting, and improving recycling and waste reduction on campus.

2021 Competition Engagement:

Due to the uniqueness of this academic year, the university will engage in mostly virtual outreach activities during this competition. Weekly recycling/composting tips will be shared through our social media channels. Below is an example of the recycling tips that will be shared throughout the competition. 

Be sure to follow @TerpsRecycle and @SustainableUMD on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram!

Check out the quiz below to see how well you can sort your waste into landfill, recycle, compost, and e-waste. For the 2020 competition, the university developed this recycling quiz aimed to test the campus community’s knowledge of waste sorting. 

Take the RM quiz