The GameDay Recycling Challenge is a competition that invites universities nationwide to see which can produce the least amount of waste on campus during football games.
During the 2014 season, participating schools tracked and reported waste reduction and disposal data from home games. Winners from fifteen athletic conferences were recognized in five different categories per conference. National winners were recognized in two categories: the total amount recycled, composted, and donated; and the diversion rate—the percentage of waste diverted from landfills.
UT Recycling, Facilities Services, and campus volunteers teamed up to direct the Zero Waste campaign in Neyland Stadium and tailgating areas. Altogether, UT recycled 47,560 pounds during the last home game of this season, placing the Volunteers in second place out of ninety participating schools for the national Total Recycling category.
In the SEC, UT also placed second in Organics Reduction, and third in both Waste Minimization and the Conference Diversion Rate.
“It is awesome we did so well in these categories,” said UT Recycling Manager Jay Price. “Normally with a large stadium it is extremely difficult to be successful with your diversion rate.”
Whether it is packaging from ponchos and new UT gear, or containers from concessions, game days in Neyland generate an enormous amount of potential landfill waste, and the necessity of creating a sustainable game day environment isn’t easy.
Recycling efforts saw big changes during the 2014 season, starting with sorting inside the stadium.
“We added an additional step this year—separating food,” Price said. “Food is getting composted, and basically everything that is left is recyclable.”
Increased campus-wide promotions and participation in recycling efforts also helped the success of the Zero Waste campaign, with volunteers staffing recycling stations in the stadium and across campus for tailgaters and fans.
For more information about UT Recycling, visit the website or call 865-974-3480.
Brooke Krempa (firstname.lastname@example.org)