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Recycle to Win!

The RecycleMania competition pits Stanford against 450+ colleges and universities across the country in an effort to waste less and recycle and compost more. Students, staff, and faculty across campus unite to reduce the university’s collective waste footprint and beat out the competition. Heading into its ninth year, Stanford will report recycling and trash tonnage over an 8-week period, and is then ranked amongst all participating colleges and universities. Competition goals include increasing campus wide engagement in the competition, building upon best practices for waste reduction, and ultimately reducing our waste while increasing our recycling to help Stanford WIN!

Be part of the team

Get Involved

1. Pledge to Recycle!

Take the pledge to recycle correctly when it launches in February. During the competition, every pledge is entered into our bi-weekly RecycleMania gift card raffle!

2. Attend a RecycleMania Event

Keep an eye out for RecycleMania events happening across campus winter quarter. Learn more about Caught Green Handed, RecycleMania @ Women's Basketball and others.

RecycleMania Events

3. Become a Sustainability Leader in Your Workplace

Open to staff and faculty only

Interested in learning more about how to reduce your waste impact and be a leader in your workplace? The Office of Sustainability's "How to 5R: Best Practices in Waste Reduction" training course provides a hands-on crash course. Available through STARS Open Access, class participants will learn how to recognize opportunities for improving waste reduction strategies.

4. Learn More About Stanford Recycling

Learn more about how recycling works at Stanford in this brief video:

What’s in it for you?

Throughout the duration of the competition, everyone who takes the pledge will be entered to win one of four $25 gift cards raffled off bi-weekly. As well, the collective efforts help the university achieve national recognition for its waste reduction efforts and position Stanford as a leader in sustainability initiatives.

Recyclemania Background and Results

During the last 30 years, Stanford has increased waste diversion to 64 percent by recycling paper, bottles and cans, yard trimmings, food scraps, wood, and construction and demolition debris. Stanford has also reduced the amount of waste sent to the landfill. In 1998, Stanford landfilled about 14,000 tons of trash. By 2014, Stanford reduced that number to around 8,700 tons.

Stanford performed 20 waste audits over the past two years and discovered interesting results. By weight, the trash dumpsters audited contained the following:

  • 7 percent aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass jars
  • 17 percent office paper and paper packaging
  • 1 percent film plastic
  • 3 percent metals
  • 1 percent e-waste
  • 4 percent wood and construction/demolition
  • 4 percent reusables
  • 31 percent organics: food scraps and compostable service ware
  • 1 percent toilet paper rolls (½ full)
  • 7 percent paper towels
  • 0 percent styrofoam
  • 24 percent real trash

If Stanford recycled all aluminum cans, plastics bottles, glass jars, office paper, and paper packaging, another 322 tons could be added to the university’s recycling total during RecycleMania!

Stanford’s RecycleMania results have been consistently strong, and 2014 proved no different. The table below provides a snapshot of Stanford’s performance in four of the most fiercely competitive categories.

In addition to the national standings shown above, Stanford achieved the following in the 2014 competition:

  • Earned Top 20 national rankings and Top 3 in California in all targeted material recycling categories
  • Reduced per capita food waste, suggesting a positive impact from ongoing food prep efficiency programs

RecycleMania Tips

  • Reduce – Reduce the amount of waste you generate - whether
  • Reuse – Use reusable plates, cups, and utensils when it's unnecessary packaging or uneaten food from the dining hall. Use less!
  • possible.
  • Recycle – Recycle all cardboard, paper, plastics, metal and glass. Plastic bags, air pillows, and bubble wrap can be placed in the paper recycling bins. (Check out the Zero Waste flyer for recycling guidelines)
  • Rot – Compost all coffee grounds, food scraps, and BPI-certified compostable service ware. (Check out our How to Guides for voluntary composting and Café composting programs to add “Rot” to your building’s sustainability checklist)
  • Rebuy – Buy recycled or repurposed products when necessary and possible. (Check out Union Underground, Stanford Surplus Property Sales, Reuse Portal, and for labs – the Surplus Chemical Program)