Cardinal Green


Reduce waste and help Stanford win! Throughout February and March, Stanford is competing against 400+ colleges and universities across the country in an effort to waste less and recycle and compost more. We need all students, staff, and faculty to unite with the goal of reducing the university’s collective waste footprint and beating the competition! During the 8-week contest, Stanford reports recycling and trash tonnage, and is then ranked among all participating colleges and universities. 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! A number of trainings and events take place during the competition to help you make less waste.

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

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. Register Now

Can't make the training? If you have 10 or more people interested in the course, we can work with you to schedule a private training for your office, dorm or group meeting! Send an e-mail to inquire.

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 $50 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 2015 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 2015 competition:

  • Earned the top prize in the Plastic Film Recycling category
  • 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
  • Earned recognition as the most creative video in the case study competition for its "All About No Waste" promotion

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 Stanford Surplus Property Sales, Reuse Portal, and for labs – the Surplus Chemical Program)