WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 20, 2015) — College football stadiums are full of passionate fans, unforgettable plays, and ample opportunity for waste reduction and recycling. This season, college and university students and alumni taking part in the GameDay Recycling Challenge recycled or reused 1,098 tons of bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, food scraps, and other recyclables, resulting in a reduction of 3,358 metric tons of greenhouses gases emitted. This is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 707 passenger vehicles, or the emissions produced by the annual electricity use of 306 households.

The GameDay Recycling Challenge, a friendly competition encouraging sustainability in collegiate athletics, promotes waste reduction and recycling practices in football stadiums and tailgating areas.

This collegiate football season, 91 schools engaged their fans to accept the Challenge. Campuses representing over 30 athletic conferences, including the ACC, PAC 12 and SEC, competed within their conference in five categories. These included Waste Minimization and Greenhouse Gas Reduction.

Schools that tracked waste and recycling weights from tailgating areas in addition to their stadiums competed nationally to see who recycled the most and who achieved the highest diversion rate.

The national winners of the 2014 GameDay Recycling Challenge are:

  • Diversion Rate – Humboldt State University, 86.05%
  • Total Recycling – Clemson University, 30.36 tons

The complete list of winners is available on the GameDay Recycling Challenge website. Winners will be recognized at the 2015 Collegiate Sports Sustainability Summit at Purdue University in June.

“Like RecycleMania, the friendly competitive nature of the GameDay Recycling Challenge continues to grow collegiate efforts to be more sustainable as participating athletic teams and their fan base are proving to be recycling leaders both in their conference and across the nation,” said Stacy Wheeler, RecycleMania, Inc. president.

Dave VanDeventer, Recycling Manager at Clemson, expressed that “being a part of the GameDay Recycling Challenge has proved itself valuable for many reasons. It gives us the opportunity to showcase the wonderful sustainability efforts of our Athletics Department, it gives us the ability to compete against other like-minded schools in a fun, friendly competition, and we have a great benchmark tool that helps show our progress from year to year.”

“Trash generated at football games and other events is a big issue for all universities,” said Humboldt State University Sustainability and Waste Coordinator Morgan King. “The GameDay Recycling Challenge provides a great opportunity to mobilize our community to be advocates for waste reduction.”

The 2014 GameDay Recycling Challenge was produced through a partnership of the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), the Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise Program, Keep America Beautiful, and RecycleMania, Inc.

Schools committed to zero waste within their stadiums are recognized on the Zero Waste Wall of Fame. Zero waste is commonly defined as reaching a 90 percent or higher diversion rate.

“Congratulations to all the schools, staff and students who participated in the GameDay Recycling Challenge,” said Craig Busch, CEO of Busch Systems. “The amount of effort, enthusiasm, education and organization that went into this year’s competition made us proud to be involved as a sponsor.”

About the College & University Recycling Coalition
The College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC) is a membership-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance recycling and sustainable materials management at colleges and universities. CURC represents a vibrant community of recycling professionals in higher education on over 800 college campuses across the United States. CURC members connect with each other through an active email listserv and at gatherings in conjunction with state and national conferences. CURC provides support to collegiate recycling programs through technical assistance, education, and training, including a webinar series, annual workshops, and the development of best-practices manuals and toolkits. For more information, visitcurc3r.org.

About the Environmental Protection Agency’s Materials Management Program
Rethink. Think Beyond Waste doesn’t just mean making good decisions about the end of a product’s life cycle (recycling, composting, energy recovery, and landfilling). It refers to sustainable materials management – the use and reuse of materials in the most productive and sustainable way across their entire life cycle. Sustainable materials management conserves resources, reduces waste, slows climate change, and minimizes the environmental impacts of the materials we use. Learn more about SMM and what EPA is doing at https://www.epa.gov/smm/basic.htm.

About Keep America Beautiful
Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that brings people together to build and sustain vibrant communities. With a national network of community-based affiliates, we work with millions of volunteers who take action in their communities to transform public spaces into beautiful places. Through our programs and public-private partnerships, we engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving their community’s environment. For more information, visit kab.org, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or view us on YouTube.

About RecycleMania
RecycleMania launched in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. The contest has expanded from two schools in 2001 to nearly 500 colleges and universities in 2014 spanning all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada. Over an eight-week period, campuses compete to see which institution can recycle the most and waste the least. The RecycleMania program is governed by a non-profit 501c (3) organization called RecycleMania, Inc. made up of a board of directors who are recycling and sustainability managers from a variety of participating universities. For complete competition details, visit RecycleMania.org.