RecycleMania returns with campuswide, national contests


The University of Michigan campus community is being called upon to take a closer look at its trash in the 12th annual RecycleMania Battle of the Buildings competition.

The eight-week waste-reduction contest challenges employees in campus buildings to beat their 2017 recycling and waste-reduction totals, and rewards performance in three areas: most-improved recycling rate, largest waste reduction rate and highest recycling rate.

In conjunction with the campus building competition, the university also will compete with hundreds of colleges and universities by comparing waste-reduction levels in the national RecycleMania competition.

The challenges run through March 31 and are organized by the Waste Reduction and Recycling Office in the Office of Campus Sustainability. Each week, OCS will track recyclables, composting rates and landfill levels for participating buildings.

The competitions directly support the university’s broader commitment to sustainability, known as Planet Blue, and its goals in the areas of waste prevention and community engagement.

“RecycleMania provides one of the biggest and most visible platforms on our campus to motivate and engage our community to get involved in sustainability efforts by building waste reduction habits,” says Alison Richardson, recycling coordinator with the Waste Reduction and Recycling Office.

The U-M campus community collected more than 1.3 million pounds of recyclables during the competitions last year.

Winners of Battle of the Buildings in 2017 were:

• Recycling Rate: University Hospital Education Center with 77.6 percent recycled.

• Most Improved Recycling Rate: University Hospital Education Center with a 120 percent increase from its 2016 baseline.

• Waste Reduction: C.C. Little and Weiser Hall with 49.6 percent less waste reduction compared to its 2016 baseline.

As one way to enhance recycling and composting on campus, OCS is standardizing recycling, composting and landfill bins and signage by adding clear, educational information to make it easier for the community to reduce waste across campus.

Similar to last year, OCS and Planet Blue are encouraging waste-reduction behavior with weekly themes promoted on Planet Blue’s social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter and on the Waste Reduction and Recycling website.

This marks the 13th year the university has participated in RecycleMania.

In the national competition, U-M will compete in:

• Per Capita Classic, the largest weight of recyclables per capita.

• Total Recycling, the largest collection of recyclables.

• Waste Minimization, the least amount of waste per capita.

• Diversion Champion, the highest diversion rate through recycling and composting.

• Food Organics, the highest collection of food and compostable waste.

U-M finished with a 45.4 percent recycling rate in the 2017 national RecycleMania competition, placing third in the Big Ten and ranking 58 among 250 competing schools.

U-M also placed third out of 214 schools in the Total Recycling category, with more than 1.3 million total pounds recycled.



  1. Deborah Rutherford
    on February 6, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    Is there a recycling alternative for styrofoam cups that are used everywhere in the university hospitals every day? I see these cups as a huge landfill issue.


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