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KNOXVILLE—Last October, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, competed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Game Day Recycling Challenge, a friendly nationwide contest to determine which university can reduce the most waste during a football game day.

“Reducing, reusing, and recycling moves our nation toward an environmentally and economically greener, sustainable tomorrow,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

In total, seventy-five universities competed in five categories: recycling, trash diversion, greenhouse gas reduction, organics reduction, and waste minimization. UT proved a strong competitor in the Southeastern Conference division, placing in several categories and winning one.

Before, during, and after the game against South Carolina on October 29, UT Recycling and dozens of volunteers canvassed campus tailgating areas collecting glass bottles, plastics, and aluminum cans, as well as food waste from Volunteer Village, Circle Park, Neyland Stadium skyboxes, and parking areas 9, 30, and G10.

“We had more volunteers and UT Recycling staff working harder that game than ever before. The effort was truly amazing. Even with fewer fans tailgating that game, we collected more recyclable material than any other game before or since,” said Jay Price, UT environmental coordinator.

As the only organics reduction competitor in the SEC, UT won the category and placed fifteenth nationally, collecting 0.025 pounds of compostable food waste per person.

UT finished second behind Louisiana State University in the SEC greenhouse gas reduction category and fifteenth nationally, saving 47.15 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions for the day.

UT finished third in the trash diversion category and thirty-fourth nationally, with 32.19 percent of waste avoiding the trash pile. The University of Kentucky overwhelmingly won this category, diverting 63.21 percent of waste from the trash.

UT finished fourth in the SEC recycling category and nineteenth nationally by collecting 0.234 pounds of recycling per person.

UT finished sixth in the waste minimization category and fifty-sixth nationally, generating 0.806 pounds of non recyclable trash per person. The University of Florida eclipsed competition in this category, generating only 0.215 pounds of trash per person.

Although UT’s totals were positive, Price knows Big Orange fans can perform even better in the upcoming 2012 football season.

“These results are encouraging, but we still see a lot of recyclable material being thrown in the trash can rather than the recycling bin. We’ve worked hard to pair up trash cans with recycling bins. Fans can really help by being conscientious and putting their bottles, cans, and cups in the right bin,” Price said.

UT’s game day food waste is composted at UT’s on-site composting facility, located across from the UT Medical Center. Glass, aluminum, plastics, paper, and cardboard collected by UT Recycling is taken to the Rock Tenn recycling facility in Knoxville.

For a complete list of results, visit the EPA website.

For more information about recycling on campus, visit the UT Recycling website here.

C O N T A C T :

Jay Price (865.974.3480,