Campus Race to Zero Waste

What is Campus Race to Zero Waste?

UMass Amherst is competing against hundreds of other universities and colleges in Campus Race to Zero Waste 2024. A national competition that helps colleges and universities advance campus waste-diversion efforts including reuse, recycling, food waste diversion, and waste-minimization efforts. 

How do I participate?

Get it to the bin. Recycle your bottles, cans, tubs, paper, and cardboard. Empty your food scraps into the food waste bin. Make sure that you review the signs that indicate what items go where. Remember, no containers or packaging of any kind can go in the food waste bin. Check out the campus recycling guidelines!

Get in the game: Reduce your waste! Reuse items when possible! Recycle properly, empty it and use the right bin (Recycle / Food Waste / Landfill)!

Use Hydration Stations to refill your reusable water bottle and reduce single-use plastic waste. There are over 256 hydration stations on our campus and counting. Check out our plastics reduction initiatives and the Plastic Reduction Partner Pledge UMass signed in November 2023. 

Leadership opportunity!

Want to help out with Campus Race to Zero Waste? Become a CRZW Eco Leader!

To earn the badge, students complete the following steps:

1. Learn about the competition
2.Take one or more actions to support the competition
3.Communicate about the competition to their peers and others on campus
4.Take one or more actions to help sustain the competition on campus

Learn more about the CR2ZW EcoLeader Student Leadership Badge. Once you have registered, email to be added to the UMass CRZW EcoLeader group!

How long does Campus Race to Zero Waste last?

Campus Race to Zero Waste is an 8-week competition that begins January 28th and ends on March 23rd.

When are results announced?

Weekly. Track current rankings for the national competition on the leader board at

CRZW 2024 Events & Promotions

UMass Dining Reusable Mug Every Day Discount - Daily
Enjoy $0.25 off at any retail dining location when you bring your reusable mug. Every day. 

 #WasteLessWednesdays - February 21st & March 13th
Free coffee at retail cafes with your reusable mug.

 CRZW Free Clothing Swaps - March 12th & April 9th
​Looking for some new duds? Need to clear out your closet? Bring gently used, clean clothing, shoes & accessories and shop to refresh your closet... All for zero dollars! Tues. March 12th & April 9th 3pm-5pm in Holdsworth 105. Note: You need not bring donations to shop, but it is greatly appreciated!!


Past Results

2023 (91 colleges)

  • Diversion: #6 overall, #2 among peer institutions (60.3% diversion rate)
  • Per capita classic: #50 overall, #16 among peers (7.9 lbs. recycled per person)
  • Food organics: #29 overall, #18 among peers (64 points)
  • Carbon impact: 526 MT CO2e avoided, equal to: 
    • taking 103 cars off the road
    • annual energy consumption of 46 homes

2022 (193 colleges)

  • Diversion: #14 overall, #2 among peer institutions (55.6% diversion rate)
  • Per capita classic: #73 overall, #27 among peers (4.8 lbs. recycled per person)
  • Food organics: #65 overall, #29 among peers (40 points)

2021 (167 colleges)

  • Diversion: #30; 42.39% recycling rate
  • Per capita classic: #15; 25.99/lbs person recycled

2019 -2020: did not participate

2018 (300 colleges)

  • Diversion: Rank #32; 50.59% recycling rate
  • Per capita classic: #101; 11.04lbs/person recycled

2017 (320 colleges)

  • Diversion: Rank #42; 51.54% recycling rate
  • Per capita Classic: #81; 13.91 lbs/person recycled
  • Total Recycling: #9; 1,040,780
  • Waste Minimization: #103; 60.35 lbs./person total waste
  • Targeted Materials:
    • Food Organics: #11; 17.91lbs/person

2016 (350 colleges)

  • Grand champion competition: Rank #26; 54.88% recycling rate
  • Per capita Classic: Rank #83; 14.36lbs/person recycled
  • Waste Minimization: Rank #89; 68.94lbs/person total waste
  • Gorilla (total lbs recycled): Rank #7; 1,253,186 total lbs. recycled
  • Targeted materials
    • Food organics: Rank #3; 23.47lbs./person

2009-2015: did not participate

2008 results (400 colleges participating)

  • Grand Champion competition: Rank #36 – 26.81% recycling rate
  • Per capita Classic: #63 17.28lbs/person recycled
  • Waste Minimization: #43 64.45lbs waste/person
  • Gorilla Prize (total lbs recyclables for entire competition): #24 474,810lbs recycled
  • Targeted Materials
    • Paper: #63; 7.31lbs/person
    • Cardboard: #52; 6.85lbs/person
    • Bottles & Cans: #47; 2.91lbs/person
    • Food Service Organics: #11; 11.8lbs/person

2007 results (201 colleges participating)

  • Participant (results not available)

2006 results (93 colleges participating)

  • Participant in Per Capita Classic, Waste Minimization, Grand Champion, Targeted Materials (paper, corrugated cardboard, bottles & cans, food service organics) competitions
  • Ranked #5 in Food Service Organics2021 (167 colleges)

2005 results (46 colleges participating)

  • Per capita classic: Rank 25th – 26.26lbs/person recycled
  • Recycling Rate 24.7%