Frequently Asked Questions

How does a school register? Who can register? 

1. How does a school register? Who can register?

Click here to go to the registration page for more details. Recycle-Bowl is open to all elementary, middle and high schools in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia. Public, private and charter schools are eligible.

What’s the difference between the School, Community, and District Divisions vs the Open Division?

Competitive Divisions – School, District, and Community Divisions

Open Division

Must register by October 12, 2018

Can register late

Open to US schools

Open to US schools, US territories, Canada and Mexico

Register via

Register via

Eligible for prizes, national recognition, and bragging rights

Not eligible for prizes. Per capita rate provided upon request. No national recognition given to school placing first in this division.

Eligible for reporting incentives (if available)

Eligible for reporting incentives (if available)

Can use material on website

Can use material on website

Can register for America Recycles Day

Can register for America Recycles Day

Report via

Report via

Weigh recyclables and/or convert from volume to weight

Weigh recyclables and/or convert from volume to weight

Must provide published population figure if winner

Does not need to provide published population figure

Verification of data by KAB staff

KAB staff will not verify data

Need to report data in US pounds by 12/14/2018

Need not report data in US pounds by 12/14/2018

Listed in official statewide rankings

Not listed in specific “open” or “bragging rights” national rankings


School Division

Community Division

Compete against other schools in the same state

Compete against other schools across the Country

Only Recyclable Material generated by, and collected from, a school’s own internal operations may be reported

Recyclable Material generated by the school’s own internal operations along with material from anyone other than the school population or donations from parent’s homes or businesses, individuals, groups and organizations may be reported

Prizes/Recognition: The School in each of the 50 States and in the District of Columbia that collects the most Recyclable Material per capita in that School’s State will receive national recognition as the State Champion and bragging rights; additional prizes may be available to the School that collects the most Recyclable Material per capita overall nationally.

Prizes/Recognition: Only one school from this division will receive the title of national community division champion. This division winner will receive national recognition and bragging rights.

When is the deadline for registration?

The registration deadline is Friday, October 12, 2018, 11:59 pm, Eastern time. Those that make an account in the reporting system before the deadline can finish completing their Recycle-Bowl registration up until October 16, 2017. Those that register after the deadline can still participate but are not eligible for bragging rights or additional prizes.

When does the competition officially start?

The competition officially starts on Monday, October 15, 2018.

I am a recycling coordinator that provides collection to multiple schools or a parent that has children in two different schools, can I easily register all the schools at once? 

Yes. If you are looking to report an entire school district under one entry make sure to select that option when registering. Otherwise, you can complete multiple registrations by loging in, selecting Recycle-Bowl and clicking "Go". 

If my school collects material commingled (cans, bottles and paper all mixed together for later separation) can we still participate?

Yes. You will be asked to provide data for your recyclable material. You can report your data broken out by commodities or commingled. Titles will be awarded based on aggregated data (pounds of cans, bottles and paper added together) so if you track your material broken out by commodity, you will be asked in the reporting section to sum it together.

How do I calculate the school’s population?

Your school population should include full-time teachers and students. During the verification process, Keep America Beautiful may ask schools to provide us with a link to a publicly published population figure for your school. Please do not include administrative or other school staff in your school population numbers.

Can I edit my school's information after I register?

You can log into the system as much as you would like after your school is registered. However, once you hit “submit” your form is locked and can only be edited by an administrator. Email to make changes to your registration form once locked.

Do we need to re-register each year?

Yes. We ask that every school register each year in order to keep our list of contacts current. You may use the same username and password each year.

What if the Recycle-Bowl coordinator for my school resigns at some point during the competition?

Please contact us at and we can work with you to transfer the contact name to a new individual.

Can we count recycled/composted yard trimmings, food scraps or grease trap material in our weights?

Yard trimmings and grease trap material is not accepted as part of the competition division at this time. Those schools wanting to track and report the amount of food scraps composted can now compete nationally in this bragging rights category. No title or additional prize will be given.

Can we count recycled polystyrene trays in our weights? What about tracking milk cartons?

If your service provider collects this material as part of your standard service contract, it can be included.

Can we count Terracycle material or toner cartridges, batteries, cell phones and other electronic products?

No. This material is not accepted as part of the competition division at this time.

Is it okay to report one time file or textbook purges in our weight data?

File purges that are part of normal operations are allowed. Schools may not stockpile material for the primary purpose of reporting it during the 4 week competition or otherwise schedule institutional purges with the intent to increase Recycle-Bowl reporting numbers. Textbook purges cannot be counted towards your data.

What is the reporting deadline? Do I need to report my data weekly? 

The reporting deadline is December 14, 2018, 11:59 pm, Eastern time. You will NOT need to get into the reporting system weekly to input your data. You will only report once, at the end of the competition. However, you should have some internal mechanism for collecting and tracking data. Some examples are found here under Scorecards. 

Do we have to provide actual weights or are estimates allowed? 

Estimates are allowed but you will need to follow the estimating rules and regulations found on the Tracking and Reporting webpage.

Where do I find the link to log in and report my data? 

To login after your initial registration, go here. The reporting database will open on November 16, 2018.

I have forgotten my username and password. What should I do?

On the login page you will see a “forgot password” link. Click this and submit your email address, and a password reminder will be sent to you. 

Can more than one person be allowed access to our school’s account? 

There is only one username and password for each school. You can share the username and password with additional people who will be helping you. If this is a problem, email

How can a small school fairly compete against a large school?

The competition rules are set up so that a small school can compete against a large school because we divide the amount of recyclable material collected by the number of teachers and students in the school. This provides us with a per capita rate. This rate is what is used to rank your school, as compared to others. Last year, the national winning school had a 47 pounds/capita rate. It was a small school of just ~300 students. The average school collected 6 pounds of material per person.

How do I set up a recycling program at my school? 

Reach out to your waste hauler and see if they would be able to provide recycling services for your school. Other partners to reach out to for guidance would be your local city or county environmental services department, or your local KAB affiliate.

Also, Dr. J. Winston Porter developed this guide to help schools set up a recycling program. It was written for Keep America Beautiful in May of 2007. It was created for a wide range of potential users, including administrators, teachers, and students, as well as many different types and sizes of schools, ranging from middle schools through community colleges. Sections include: Getting to Know Your Trash, Markets for Recyclables, Determining What to Collect in your Recycling Program, Setting Up Your Program and Educational Activities.