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KNOXVILLE — The recycling totals are in and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is victorious.

While fans may have been watching what was happening on the field this football season, UT Recycling, the campus crew in charge of recycling, had been working hard collecting cups, bottles, leftover food, etc. in an effort to recycle 50 tons of trash.

It was successful.

The crew recycled 54.7 tons, averaging 7.81 tons per game which is almost double what it recycled last year. Last year, UT Recycling collected 35 tons for the season. The effort is part of the university’s Make Orange Green environmental initiative.

Jay Price, environmental coordinator, attributes the success to a boost in fan participation, an increase in recycling bins, the addition of recycling games in Volunteer Village and an uptick in volunteers.

Game day recycling volunteer.

“We had 145 volunteers contributing 734 hours of service just for the seven home football games. We had a dynamic and hard-working recycling team this year. It was a tremendous effort by everyone,” Price said.

UT Recycling also competed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Game Day Recycling Challenge during the Alabama game on Oct. 23. The challenge pitted UT Knoxville against the other nine universities in the Southeastern Conference to see who recycled the most.

UT Knoxville took first place in the “Per Capita Organics” category, which rates schools on their organic reduction rates. The university placed second in the “Per Capita Diversion Rate” category, which rates schools on their overall recycling rate which includes trash, recycling and composting data. It placed third in the “Per Capita Recycling” category, which rates schools on their recycling rates.

To view a breakdown of the results, visit

In total, the university recycled and composted 10.29 tons of material during the Alabama game which is the most during a game in university history.

“I’m really proud of how this season went and am excited about the opportunities ahead. If we utilize the new compost pile on campus and target food waste from the stadium, add more staff and more bins, we can make an even bigger difference,” Price said.

For more information on UT Knoxville’s sustainability efforts, visit the Make Orange Green website at

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Holmes (865-974-5460,