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We're national champs for Aggie Stadium recycling

December 7, 2010

Photo: Students cheer

Recycling and composting at Aggie Stadium this fall led to a national victory for UC Davis, announced recently by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

The EPA named UC Davis the “Diversion Rate Champion,” over 76 other colleges and universities in its national “Wastewise Game Day Challenge.” The honor recognizes UC Davis for having the highest combined rates of recycling and composting at a football game.

For the challenge, UC Davis reported more than 89 percent of all waste at Aggie Stadium was either recycled or composted — instead of being sent to the landfill — during its Oct. 23 football game.

Though this was UC Davis’ first time participating in the EPA challenge, the campus has been working hard to reduce its waste to meet the universitywide goal of zero waste by 2020. When it opened in 2007, Aggie Stadium was the first college stadium in the country to set the goal of zero waste.

The challenge game’s 89 percent diversion rate is Aggie Stadium’s highest ever.

In its 2010 football season, Aggie Stadium saw an average waste diversion rate of 76 percent — up from 59 percent diversion in 2009. 

“Being part of the challenge gave us a snapshot in time of how we’re doing in comparison to other colleges around the country — and proves that we do really lead in this area,” said Lin King, manager of the campus Waste Reduction and Recycling program. “But it also put a spotlight on some of the things we need to do for next year to get closer to achieving zero waste at the stadium.”

Already all of the food served at the stadium is recyclable or compostable. To do so, Aggie Stadium concession stands have chosen specific foods to serve; for example, only scooped ice cream and candy in paper boxes are offered at stadium concession stands, to avoid non-recyclable wrappers and containers.

Photo: Recycling and composting bins

Inside the stadium, fans can only choose from recycling and composting bins when throwing things away. During the challenge, recycling staff and student volunteers were also standing by to answer questions and help stadium guests and staff use the bins correctly.

King said that minor improvements are still needed to achieve the stadium's goal of zero waste, including training for clean-up staff and concession volunteers. Better signs and bins in the concession and restroom areas should also help improve stadium diversion rates.

UC Davis in the "Wastewise Game Day Challenge," by the numbers:

Find out more about campus progress toward waste reduction goals, or how you can recycle, compost and host a zero-waste event on campus.

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