Campus Race to Zero Waste


The Campus Race to Zero Waste is a national competition in which schools and universities compete to reduce waste. CMU annually participates in CR2ZW in the spring as a way to continually improve our diversion rates and revamp waste reduction educational efforts.

In CR2ZW, we compete to measure our compost, recycling, and landfill weights and compare our results to other schools. Last year, CMU maintained a diversion rate around 38%, and placed second nationally in the food organics (composting) category! This year, with your help, we can do even better!

Here are a few important dates for this year's competition:R2ZBadges_final_participant (1).jpg
  • Jan. 30: Competition Kickoff!
  • Feb. 5: CMU Game Day Challenge: Basketball
  • Feb. 26: Halfway point
  • Mar. 14-25: CMU Electronics Drive
  • Mar. 26: Last competition day
  • April 28: National winners announced

CR2ZW Electronics Drive (March 14-25)

During the CMU Electronics Drive, any students are welcome to drop off their on-campus electronics in the lobby of any residential hall. Please place your electronics in a designated drop off bin, which in most cases will be a large brown move-out bin. Anything with a battery or cord will be accepted!

For more information on Campus Race to Zero Waste, visit the RecycleMania website. If you have any questions about CMU's waste reduction initiatives, please reach out to or

CMU Sustainable Material Management Data:

​Week 1
​Week 2
​Week 3
​Week 4
​Week 5
​Week 6
​Week 7
​Week 8


Important Notes:
  • All data is measured in pounds.
  • Diversion rate is a reflection of all weights not sent to landfill.
  • Metals, Sales, and Donations are reported on a monthly basis.

Waste Reduction Resources

On average, CMU sends 40-50,000 pounds of waste to a landfill every single week. Although we have no official numbers, CMU Facilities Management estimates nearly half of what's found in an on-campus dumpster could be diverted through existing infrastructure.

Currently, CMU has an average diversion rate of 38%. This number includes mixed recycling, composting, and electronics recycling. In 2020, CMU recycled 172.28 tons of papers and plastics, 86.92 tons in metals, and numerous undocumented tons in food pantry and clothing donations. 

In 2021, we placed second in the 2021 Campus Race to Zero Waste organics category. This is thanks to initiatives such as regular on-campus waste audits, educational videos, presentations, and signage. Our efforts are largely defined by our zero waste kitchens and cafeterias that divert over 300 tons of food waste from landfills annually. 

However, there are many opportunities for students, staff, and faculty to dramatically reduce their waste or meet their needs. 

In addition to composting in residential restaurants and accessible on-campus recycling, the CMU Surplus Sale, local nonprofits, and Facebook groups like Mt. Pleasant Spark in the Dark offer opportunities to upcycle or donate clothing and furniture. On-campus, the CMU Student Food Pantry and First Impressions are amazing resources for students in need of food or clothing.

CMU Facilities Management also regularly hosts events such as electronic recycling drives or pumpkin composting opportunities. In the spring of 2021, CMU recycled nearly 8,000 pounds of electronics, and this past fall, FM collected 1,780 pounds of pumpkins for composting. Be on the look out for these opportunities by following the social media pages of student organizations such as the CMU Student Government Association.

For even more resources on how you can reduce your waste, visit the Central Sustainability YouTube channel for video content on CMU's waste management streams (like the one featured below) or how to do your own waste audit!


Lastly, if you're ever confused about recycling on-campus, you can consult the recycling guide below. Taken from the Sustainable Living Guide, this recycling guide details what can and can't be recycled, according to the Isabella County Recycling Center.

recyclemania guide.jpg