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The Campus Race to Zero Waste

Campus Race to Zero Waste LogoThe Campus Race to Zero Waste: 

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.

The 2023 Competition:

Each week, the university’s waste data is entered into the competition dashboard and results will be given periodically throughout the competition.  During the 2023 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 dining facilities. 
  • Electronics Recycling - Competition based on collection of scrap electronics over one-month period.

UMD's Competition Highlights of 2022:

  • Diverted 44% of waste away from the landfill (into recycling or compost), ranking #1 in Maryland, #2 in the Big10, and #29 nationally!
  • Ranked #9 nationally in the Food Organics category through composting and food waste minimization practices. 

The chart below shows the last four years of competition results.







 Rates of Waste Recycled or Composted (Diversion)






 Diversion- National Ranking 

29th of 103

45th of  104

 25th of 145

 35th of 159  

 41st of 171

 Diversion- State Ranking 

1st of 5

3rd of 4

 1st of 5

 1st of 5

 1st of 5

 Diversion- Big10 Ranking

2nd of 4

3rd of 8

 1st of 7

 2nd of 8

 3rd of 9

 Amount of Waste Recycled Per Person (Per Capita)

6.2 lbs/person

4.7 lbs/person

 6.8 lbs/person

 11 lbs/person

 10.1 lbs/person

 Per Capita National Ranking

71st of 119

78th of 209

 82nd of 192

 83rd of 214

 106th of 230

 Per Capita State Ranking

3rd of 4

2nd of 5

 3rd of 7

 6th of 7

 3rd of 6

 Big10 Ranking

4th of 4

6th of 7

 5th of 7

 5th of 9

 7th of 9

 Food/Organics (amount composted)

75.6 points

75.1 points

 19.3 points

 19.6 points

 19.4 points

 National Ranking 

9th of 91

8th of 103

 56th of 144

 57th of 148

 60 of 169

This year we are looking to do even better and we need YOUR help! Visit for proper waste sorting techniques. 

Recycling/composting tips are shared through social media: Be sure to follow @TerpsRecycle and @SustainableUMD on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram!
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