Divisions & Categories

Divisions & Categories


RecycleMania is organized around three distinct types of categories.  Schools can choose to participate in whichever ones they choose.

Classic Eight Week Categories - Based on Recycling and Trash Rates

The classic 8 week tournament features eight separate categories based on the weight of recyclables (cardboard, paper and cans and bottles), trash and food organics. Each week schools report how much they've collected and have their updated cumulative results published on the RecycleMania website for those categories they've provided the necessary material weights (Ex: if a school does not have a separate weight for paper, they are not included in the Paper category, etc).

Depending on whether a school has reliably-measured weights or loose "guesstimate" numbers, their results for a given category will either be featured in the official competition rankings along side other schools ("Competition Division") or presented in a non-competitive, alphabetical order ("Benchmark Division"). Click on the category below to learn how each of these traditional categories are calculated. Additional explanation of the two divisions is shown further down the page.

Special One-Time Reporting Categories

Unlike the classic eight week categories that are based on cumulative weekly results, the following three categories rank schools based on material weights reported on a single occasion. Click each to learn how they work:

Case Study Competition


Schools participating in the classic eight week categories are divided into either the Competition or Benchmark divisions based on their goals for participating and their ability to accurately report weight data. NOTE: The divisions do not apply to the special one-time reporting categories.

Competition Division

The Competition Division features the formal rankings that allow a school to see themselves alongside other schools in each of the classic eight categories. To participate in the Competition Division, schools must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a degree-granting college or university located in North America offering primarily on-site coursework.
  • Participate with their entire campus including auxiliaries and satellite facilities.
  • Be able to track and report data according to the standards outlined under Tracking and Reporting Standards.
  • Have the official contact person responsible for reporting weights complete a half hour online certification module to ensure understanding of Tracking and Reporting standards.

Benchmark Division

The Benchmark Division is less formal and designed for schools wishing to participate at their own pace. It is open to any institution of higher learning in the world. Benchmark Division schools:

  • Are not included in the official competition rankings nor are they eligible to “win” any categories.
  • Are encouraged to report their recycling and trash weights as best they can but are not required to follow the official Tracking and Reporting standards.
  • Have the ability to informally compare themselves against other schools in each of the eight categories.
  • May include their entire institution or limit participation to a subset of the campus such as residence halls or dining facilities.