By Cecilia Cho
Local universities are gearing up to compete with schools across the country to see whose fans can recycle the most during the 2015 GameDay Recycling Challenge.
The University of Kansas and University of Missouri are two that are participating. Schools will be tracking the quantity or recyclables, organic food waste and trash generated at one or more regular season home football games, and then reporting their best results at the GameDay Recycling Challenge website.
“We are going to report numbers for the game all the way up till the end of the season. Really, we don’t change our program too much because we already do so much at every game,” said Eric Nelson, KU’s waste reduction manager. “Our biggest thing is probably during homecoming to try and get some volunteers out to help fans get their recycling in the right place to increase our diversion rates.”
Schools will be rated by five categories: diversion, recycling, greenhouse gas reduction, waste minimization and organics reduction. Schools are able to participate in the challenge in as many games as they would like for the season, but rankings will be determined by their best results in each category. Ninety-six schools are participating in this year’s challenge nationwide.
In 2013, KU ranked second overall in the Big 12 Conference for its recycling efforts. This year, Nelson wants to focus on the university’s diversion rate for combined recycling and compost.
“We want to educate our fans, not only on just the practices here on campus or the game, but also … so that maybe they take some of those practices home with them,” said Nelson. “Greening sports in general will hopefully will help fans think a little bit about their actions away from the football stadium.”
At MU, organizers set a goal this year to recycle 60 tons during games, and increase of 14 tons over last year.
“We have multiple things going on during games,” said Alicia LaVaute, an administrative assistant in the MU Sustainability Office. “There is a crushed can recycling Plinko game for kids, a huge sandwich board with a happy dancing can that we are using to show how much we have recycled game to game, and students hand out recycling cozies that say ‘Recycle aluminum because you CAN!’ and ‘Tigers keep it clean on and off the field.’”
Top photo: By Lydia Gibson
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