7 February 2018

American football colleges battle it out for recycling title

American football is known to be fiercely competitive on the field, but a new recycling challenge has been able to direct that rivalry off the field towards sustainability.

The GameDay Recycling Challenge was set up by conservation charities and the US Environmental Protection Agency to engage American football fans in a game of recycling.

The challenge involved 70 colleges and universities from across the United States, and reached an estimated 8.7 million fans at 181 games throughout 2017.

The Keep America Beautiful charity, which helped organise the competition, reported that these colleges helped recycle over 1.5 million pounds of material on game days during the autumn season. This helped prevent the release of 2,410 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Clemson University, in the state of South Carolina, were crowned national champions with 98,521 pounds of material recycled, composted or donated. The university also won last year’s same competition.

The University's Recycling Manager, Dave VanDeventer, said: “Participating in the competition is a way to push ourselves, and we are proud of how we improved upon last year’s system; we were able to decrease our labour hours and still increase our recycling rate. We would not have been able to achieve our GameDay recycling goals without the hard work of the recycling team and the support of the Clemson community.”

Meanwhile, the University of Akron in Ohio won the title for the amount of material diverted from landfill with a 93.57 percent rate.

Andrew Henry, who heads the University's recycling services, commented: “We are using lessons learned during the challenge, such as the strategy used to increase composting during game-day events, and using them in other campus waste diversion initiatives.”

Brenda Pulley, Senior Vice President of Recycling at Keep America Beautiful congratulated all the participating teams and individuals who took part: “Beyond the waste recovered on game days, the full impact of these efforts comes from the fans who were encouraged to continue reducing, recycling and composting waste throughout the year”.


Image Credit: Keith Johnston

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