Cardinal Green


Thank you to all those who supported Stanford in RecycleMania. In this annual competition, Stanford competes against 450+ colleges and universities across the country in an effort to waste less and recycle and compost more. Students, staff, and faculty unite to reduce the university’s collective waste footprint and beat the competition! During the 8-week competition, Stanford reports recycling and trash tonnage, and is then ranked among all participating colleges and universities. View the final results here. The 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!

Get Involved

1. Pledge to Recycle!

During RecycleMania, commit to your campus environment and pledge to recycle and compost more and make less waste! Stanford competes against more than 450 colleges and universities to reduce waste on campus. Every person who pledges to make less waste is entered into our RecycleMania gift card raffle!

2. Share our message: We're All About No Waste at Stanford

Learn more about how recycling at Stanford works in our educational video:

3. Attend a RecycleMania Event

During RecycleMania, find Cardinal Green representatives across campus and learn about different ways to reduce waste in your daily life, and more about some of Stanford's strategies on the path to zero waste!

4. Become a Sustainability Leader in Your Workplace

Interested in learning more about how to reduce your waste impact and be a leader in your workplace? Offered during RecycleMania, Office of Sustainability's "Best Practices in Waste Reduction" training course provides a hands-on lesson in responsible waste management. Class participants will learn how to recognize opportunities to improve waste reduction and how to implement them in their work space.

What’s in it for you?

Throughout the duration of the competition, everyone who takes the pledge will be entered to win one of several $25 gift cards. 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 65 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 8,350 tons.

Stanford performed 27 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 385 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)