Race to Zero Waste

The 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.

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:





 Rates of Waste Recycle or Compost (Diversion)




 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)

 6.8 lbs/person

 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


The 2021 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 2021 competition, the university participated 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.

Recycling/composting tips are shared through social media: 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

Take the quiz to test how well you know how to sort waste, recycling and compost!

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