Tracking Standards

Tracking Standards

To provide a meaningful comparison between college and university’s recycling efforts it’s important that participants use standardized methods of tracking and reporting their recycling and trash data. Competition Division schools are required to meet the following standards and Benchmark Division schools are encouraged to follow them to the best of their ability. The following rules specifically apply to the 8 main RecycleMania categories. The Electronics category is governed by separate rules described in that section.

  • All recycling and trash data are submitted as a weights (as opposed to volume), either in U.S. pounds or metric kilograms.
  • Competition Division participants should track weight data from all areas of their institution including auxiliary departments and off-campus facilities. Read more about capturing all sources of materials.
  • Reported weights should be based on actual observed recycling and trash quantities. Exceptions to this rule:
    • Schools that receive infrequent or monthly weight reports must use past weekly averages to report interim weights on their weekly reporting form. Once actual data becomes available they should revise previously reported numbers.
    • Schools that have difficulty tracking data from sections of their campus or auxiliary facilities may use a formula to estimate for up to 25% of their reported weight totals for any material type. RecycleMania staff must approve the methodology in advance.
  • Where possible, actual weights should always be used. Weight estimates derived from volume measurements may be substituted using the following guidelines:
  • Volume-to-weight conversions should ideally be done using multipliers based on actual weight sampling conducted by the school. Where this is not possible schools may use the standard RecycleMania conversion factors. Where a school believes these factors do not accurately reflect their actual material weights, they should contact RecycleMania staff to consult alternatives.
  • Except where RecycleMania staff provides a specific exemption as described above, volume estimates must be based on actual observed quantities. For instance, a five yard dumpster of cardboard must be observed to be full, or a visual determination of how full it is must be made. Simply reporting based on capacity of the container without observed quantities is not allowed.
  • Schools have flexibility to measure volume directly from the public collection containers or to base their reported data on the total volume of material collected from multiple locations. The same standard for observed quantities exists for total collected materials as for individual bins.
  • In situations where weight data is not available each week because of infrequent hauler reports, etc., schools must provide place holding estimates until actual weight data becomes available. Schools can use previous weight data to create weekly averages for use in the interim. These interim estimates must be replaced with actual data once it becomes available. Schools that do not report any numbers during the off-weeks may be switched to the Benchmarking Division after consultation with RecycleMania staff.
  • Stockpiling recyclables for the primary purpose of improving RecycleMania results is not permitted. Schools may include stored materials such as paper or electronics that are purged as part of a normal operational process, or that are collected from individual students and staff as part of a promotional collection activity.