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What is RecycleMania?

RecycleMania Logo - green oval with yellow and orange writing saying RecycleMania Tournament with a blue background. A white recycling symbol with a blue circle behind is at the beginning of the word Recycle. 8 stars are lined up diagonally in pairs of two going out from the top of the word Recycle.

Each spring semester South Dakota State University participates in RecycleMania. RecycleMania is an eight-week national collegiate competition that compares results of recycling efforts of schools across the nation, by measuring the pounds of material recycled on campus. It began in 2001 as a friendly competition between Ohio University and Miami University. It has since grown into a national effort, with 394 universities participating in 2015. The RecycleMania competition is designed to promote waste reduction in campus communities and increase recycling awareness and participation by students and staff. The data for material collected is adjusted according to school size so institutions can compete with one another regardless of student population.

How does the competition work?

Students, faculty, and staff recycle as normal (or more!), but what changes is that the amounts of trash and recycling are weighed. Brookings Dumpster then reports the numbers to the campus Sustainability Specialist who enters the data into the RecycleMania website. Most categories are based on a per capita basis, and universities are ranked as such.  Weekly rankings are posted throughout the competition.

How can you get involved?

Throughout the competition remember to collect your recyclables from campus and place in the nearest recycling bin or dumpster – all recycling containers placed around campus that get emptied into the recycling dumpsters get included. It's just that easy to do!

RecycleMania 2018 will be SDSU's eight year in the competition. Be sure to check the Recycling Guide for a detailed list of recyclables.


RecycleMania 2018 competition dates are Feb. 4 through March 31.

Past Results:

YearTotal Recycling (lbs.)Total Trash (lbs.)Avg. Recycling Rate (%)Food Service Organics (lbs.)
Yearly Rankings        
YearGrand ChampionPer CapitaWaste MinimizationTotal RecyclingFood Service OrganicsPaperCardboard 
201159 out of 7541 out of 145---------20 out of 147 ----------------------------Benchmark Division
201230 out of 3034 out of 5925 out of 2719 out of 49----------------------------Benchmark Division
2013238 out of 273253 out of 36090 out of 167185 out of 364132 out of 155-------------------Competition Division
2014202 out of 256157 our of 332105 out of 149134 out of 336152 out of 16293 out of 14852 out of 149Competition Division
2015180 out of 232138 out of 30792 out of 142131 out of 308116 out of 147-------------------Competition Division
2016153 out of 20786 out of 26980 out of 114102 out of 276114 out of 14073 out of 9114 out of 97Competition Division
2017125 out of 19073 out of 24493 out of 13586 out of 215114 out of 13459 out of 6813 out of 73Competition Division

More information on RecycleMania can be found at