Carnegie Mellon University

The Campus Race to Zero Waste (CR2ZW) is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for colleges and universities to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over an 8-week period, CMU tracks the weights of how much we throw out, how much food we donate, and how much we recycle. With the goal of increasing our diversion and recycling rates throughout the competition!

While the competition is just 8 weeks each February and March, you can participate all year by consuming less, reusing more, and choosing to recycle or compost when you can. 

Check back in January 2024 or follow the @CMUGreenPractices Instagram page for updates and event details for the 2024 competition. 

During the 8 week competition there are activities, events, and promotions to encourage the campus community to reduce their waste. 

Past events included:

  • Choose to Reuse: No Sew Bag Workshop
  • Cinema, Snacks, and Discussion - a Screening of the Film Landfill Harmonic
  • Fix-it Fair - Mending Workshop
  • Spring Swap thrift event
  • Zero Waste Make-a-Thon

Check back in January 2024 or follow the @CMUGreenPractices Instagram page for updates and event details for the 2024 competition. 

CR2ZW offers different levels of reporting for participation in the 8-week competition. CMU will compete in national competitions in the following categories:

  • Diversion Category - the school with the highest waste diversion percentage. Diversion is determined by the percentage of the total weight of recyclables and food organics diverted from total waste generated.
  • Stephen K Gaski Per Capita Classic - the school that collects the largest combined amount of paper, cardboard, and bottles and cans on a per person basis.
  • Food Organics - points are awarded for food waste minimization activities and the amount of food that is diverted from the landfill.
There are also special, one-time reporting categories. CMU often competes in the national Case Study Competition, where schools share their best practices in promoting and improving recycling and waste reduction on campus.

Visit for more information about the national competition.

2023 CR2ZW Results

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2022 CR2ZW Results

Carnegie Mellon was a winner in the Waste Minimization category of the 2022 Case Study Competition!

During the 2022 8-week competition, CMU recycled 36.9 tons and donated or composted 46.1 tons of food.