Campus Engagement Case Study Competition

Gain recognition for waste reduction initiatives

Diversion rates and per capita weights only tell part of the story! The purpose of the Case Study competition is to showcase waste reduction initiatives and campaigns schools undertake to influence institutional and personal practices. Unlike traditional RecycleMania categories that rank based on recycling, food waste or trash weights, this is a judged competition that recognizes schools based on the creativity and impact of their efforts.

Schools provide a brief description of a waste reduction initiative using the case study template provided below. A panel made up of RecycleMania boardmembers, staff and representatives from partner organizations will review and designate winners in three categories:


  1. Food Waste Reduction –  Recognizes efforts to reduce amount of food that goes uneaten and is discarded as waste.  Case study can focus on:   
    • Operational steps to prevent food going to waste. Examples may include:
      • Source reduction in back-of-the-house dining operations to avoid excess prep food scraps or preparing excess meal servings.
      • Donating unserved food to hunger-fighting non-profits
      • Tray-less, pay-per-serving or other steps to discourage taking more food than a person will eat
    • Education / awareness – outreach to campus community about the problem of food waste and how people can help prevent it.

      *Category specifically excludes composting, animal feed or other recovery methods that don’t result in food being eaten by humans. 

  2. Waste Minimization – Recognizes efforts to reduce waste through reuse or waste prevention steps (other than food). Examples:
    • Changes to procurement procedures
    • Operational or policy changes to reduce consumption
    • Reuse initiative to find new homes for items / or replace use of new materials / items
  3. Education / Awareness Campaign – Recognizes general outreach campaigns to educate or raise awareness about a recycling, zero waste or other waste reduction-related issue. The campaign can be in support of RecycleMania participation or from an unrelated campus outreach effort.


Judging Criteria

Submissions will be judged based on how well they address the given criteria. Case studies should be submitted using the online form provided.

  • Impactful – Initiative led to concrete, measurable results. Depending on initiative, this could range from cost savings from avoided purchases to percentage reduction in food scraps from kitchen prep to the number of people who pledge to reuse coffee mugs.  
  • Detailed and Concise– Case study communicates the important details concisely, allowing readers to understand enough to be able to replicate the event or activity.
  • Transferability – How easily could the promotion be replicated at other schools; planning and execution steps are clearly explained for others to replicate. This may include an explanation of the staff or volunteer time involved, coordination between campus departments, planning timeline, budget including in-kind contributions and any other resources.
  • Photos or other campaign materials – Photos, social media screen grabs, posters or other example creative materials or written outreach. Photo will be judged on whether they show the promotion in such a way that viewers can recognize and understand what is involved, and where appropriate by showing people actively involved with the promotion.
  • Extra credit #1 - Creativity – The promotion was original or was done with a creative twist.
  • Extra Credit #2 - Part of RecycleMania or GameDay Challenge campaign– Additional credit given for initiatives or campaign specifically in support of a broader RecycleMania or GameDay Challenge-branded campaign.


To Participate:

  1. Plan and implement your RecycleMania promotional outreach campaign, or refer to a recent waste reduction outreach campaign (that occurred in the last three years).
  2. Submit case study description using one of the three templates provided below by Friday, May 12, 2017.
  3. Email supplemental documents (photos, newspaper articles, website links, etc. to with “RecycleMania Case Study submission” in the subject line.
  4. A judging committee will select a recycling winner and a waste reduction winner.
  5. Winners will be announced by June 2017


Recognition for the Winners

The winners in each of the three categories will be recognized with a national award certificate from RecycleMania. They will also be honored on the RecycleMania website resource library to highlight strategies and best practices with campuses nationwide, and invited to participate in a webinar for RecycleMania coordinators and other campus recyclers.


Download Case Study Template:


View Past Case Study Winners