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KNOXVILLE – No matter what happens on the field, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has been claiming a big victory this football season. UT Recycling, the campus crew in charge of recycling, has been collecting record numbers of material on game days. This Saturday, Oct. 23, the crew will face its biggest challenge yet.

As the football team battles the University of Alabama on the field, UT Recycling will be battling the Crimson Tide and other universities off the field in the EPA Game Day Recycling Challenge in which universities fight to see who recycles the most.

“That particular game is a big one both for UT Knoxville and for UT Recycling,” said Jay Price, environmental coordinator. “We will be upping the ante by composting leftover food and putting out even more than the 925 recycling bins we already have.”

UT Recycling set a record at the Florida game by collecting eight tons of material, putting it on target to gather its goal of 50 tons this season. Last year, UT Recycling collected 35 tons for the season. The effort is part of the university’s Make Orange Green environmental initiative.

“Fans are really starting to get into recycling. They’re seeing more bins in more places and really starting to use them. They’re understanding that recycling should be a part of their tailgate, a part of their game day tradition,” said Price.

UT Recycling took steps to make it even easier to recycle at the stadium that include the following:

  • There are now 500 recycling bins in tailgating areas, up from 125 last year.
  • There are 300 bins inside the stadium, up from 100 last year, and 120 bins in the skyboxes.
  • The crew is seeing an uptick in volunteers.
  • UT Recycling has garnered interest by adding recycling games in Volunteer Village.

“We are getting better at what we are doing. We are getting more strategic about where we put bins so people don’t have a choice but to recycle,” said Price. “I have some great staff that keep pushing harder and harder each game to get as many aluminum cans and plastic bottles, plastic cups, cardboard and paper as possible.”

While Price hopes to win the Game Day Recycling Challenge and meet the 50 tons of material goal, his recycling aspirations don’t stop there.

“For the future, we’d like to target food waste from the stadium for composting in our new compost pile on campus. We also hope to be able to get more staff and more bins to push this even further. There’s a lot of material that we’re still missing, but we’re doing a pretty amazing job with the limited resources we have,” he said.

With more resources, Price estimates UT Recycling could be able to recycle half the waste from game days.

For more information on UT Knoxville’s sustainability efforts, visit the Make Orange Green website at http://environment.utk.edu.

For more information on the EPA Game Day Recycling Challenge, visit http://www.epa.gov/wastes/partnerships/wastewise/challenge/gameday.

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460, wholmes7@utk.edu)