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Recycle for the win: National competition at Oct. 23 football game
October 15, 2010
It’s time to talk trash in anticipation of the Parents Weekend football game, Oct. 23: UC Davis fans are being called upon to compost and recycle their way to victory in a national competition to reduce waste at campus stadiums.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s “Wastewise Game Day Challenge” pits 91 colleges and universities against each other—including UC Davis—in a competition to reduce waste at football games.
This is the first year that UC Davis has taken up the EPA’s challenge. Aggie Stadium will be competing in these categories:
- least amount of waste generated per attendee
- highest recycling rate
- highest organics reduction rate (i.e., food donation and composting)
- highest combined recycling and composting rate
UC Davis has a head start in this competition. When it opened in 2007, Aggie Stadium was the first college stadium in the country to set the goal of zero waste. All of the concessions served at the stadium are recyclable or compostable, so inside the stadium there are only recycling and composting bins available for public use.
Spectators might notice some other differences between Aggie Stadium and other stadiums. For example, since most candy and ice cream treat wrappers are not recyclable, Aggie Stadium concession stands serve scooped ice cream and boxed candy.
“Everything that is sold at the concessions stand leaves in compostable or recyclable packaging without exception,” Anne Pierson, Sodexo retail manager, said. “And our cashiers are letting customers know what is compostable before they even leave the counter.”
Although the stadium’s goal is zero waste, some trash is still generated from items that spectators bring into the stadium. A small amount of trash is also generated behind the scenes, including athletic tape from locker rooms and bulk packaging from behind concession stand counters.
“I feel like we’re on the cutting edge of something exciting. Not many other stadiums do this,” said Kathy Smith, Aggie Stadium manager. “I think we’ve made it really easy for visitors to participate. We’ll do whatever it takes to get better each week.”
For the Oct. 23 competition, Smith recommends that football fans not sneak in outside food or drink (only sealed water bottles are allowed) and pay attention to sorting their disposables into the correct bins. Recycling staff and student volunteers will also be on hand to answer questions and help stadium guests use the bins correctly.
UC Davis' involvement in the competition during Parents Weekend is being coordinated by the campus waste reduction and recycling program, part of the Office of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability. Find out more about campus progress toward waste reduction goals, or how you can host a zero-waste event on campus.