The 2020 RecycleMania competition has started, and the University of Wisconsin–Stout is returning to participate for the fourteenth year in a row. RecycleMania, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, originally began in January 2001. As stated by the tournament, their goal is to educate students and staff on recycling and help increase recycling efforts.

According to RecycleMania’s website, this tournament originally started as a competition between Ohio University and Miami University. Since then, RecycleMania has reported over 1,000 universities participating in the tournament throughout the U.S. and Canada, including UW–Stout.

From Feb. 2 to Mar. 28 this year, universities will be judged on the basis of who recycles the most.

When UW–Stout first participated in RecycleMania in 2007, they placed first out of all Wisconsin schools. That year, a Stoutonia article written by Tony Nelson, “Stout No.1 In Wisconsin RecycleMania,” stated that, while UW–Stout was the best in Wisconsin, they planned to improve their recycling even more in the next few years.

Despite being the best in Wisconsin, UW–Stout did not place as high nationally. According to this article, UW–Stout placed 88th in Per Capita Classic, 41st in Paper, 71st in Corrugated Cardboard and 54th in Bottles and Cans. These are the different categories schools could engage in.

From 2007, UW–Stout  has continued to participate and improve their placement in RecycleMania.

According to Sarah Rykal, as of 2012, UW–Stout placed 207th out of 274 universities. In 2014—after implementing composting and recycling bins and educating students more on recycling—they placed 24th out of 256.

As reported by the UW–Stout website, they placed first in the UW System until 2019. Last year, the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh placed 14th nationally and first in the UW System. UW–Stout placed 24th in the U.S. and second in the UW System.

According to UW–Stout’s Sustainability Office, their goal for 2020 is to place first in the UW System and reach the top 20 of all universities.

As stated by Nelson’s 2007 article, RecycleMania is an excellent way to learn about recycling. In order to help with the Sustainability Office’s goals, be sure to be aware of whether your waste items should be recycled, composted or placed in the trash for landfill.

If you have any questions on where any waste items belong, feel free to send an email with a picture of your item(s) in question to They will be able to answer your questions regarding recycling, composting and trash for landfill. You can also message Sustainable Stout on Facebook or Instagram.