Game Day Recycling Challenge
Tailgaters are encouraged to bring food in recyclable or reusable containers. – VMI Photo by Kevin Remington.
LEXINGTON, Va., Oct. 12, 2011 – The VMI community will have the opportunity to “green the gridiron” during the homecoming football game against Stony Brook University Oct. 22.
On that day, VMI will participate in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Game Day Challenge, a national competition among colleges and universities to divert as much material as possible from landfills during one home football game this fall.
“The Game Day Challenge is an effective way to jump start recycling efforts because it gives our various teams something to crystallize around,” said Maj. Jenny deHart, staff engineer and sustainability coordinator, who is organizing the event. Key players include several physical plant teams, the cadet Recycling Club, the Keydet Club, the athletics department, Aramark, the city of Lexington, C&S Disposal, and volunteers from Parry McCluer High School.
Receptacles marked with blue recycling decals will be stationed on the Parade Ground and in Foster Stadium, Clarkson-McKenna Hall, and the PX dining area.
“I encourage all fans to recycle while on Post,” said deHart. “Tailgaters especially are encouraged to bring recyclable items rather than disposable.”
Tailgaters at both the Parade Ground and the Keydet Club parking lot will receive clear bags they can tie off and leave near their vehicles for pickup by the grounds crew. Recyclables that can be placed in the bags are plastics No. 1-7, glass, and aluminum.
“One of the biggest hurtles is identifying game-related waste and recycling it, consolidating it, and having it hauled off to get weighed,” said deHart, who added that the process will get a trial run at the Oct. 15 game. “The ultimate goal is that recycling will become a standard aspect of all home football games and then expand to all athletic game operations.”
DeHart said spectators, including parents and alumni, have requested recycling support at games.
She added that reusable items are even better than recyclables for those planning ahead.
“Reusable items make a tailgate party even more environmentally friendly, and you can take the items home to use again for the next pre-game celebration.”
Participating schools track and report waste reductions and disposal data, which are then used to rank them. The goals of the competition, which is open to all schools for the first time this year, are to lower the waste generated at college football games, heighten awareness of waste reduction programs, and increase participation by students, faculty, staff, and the community in waste reduction programs.
Awards will be given in five categories: least amount of waste generated per attendee, greatest greenhouse gas reductions from diverting waste, highest recycling rate, highest organics reduction rate (i.e. food donation and composting), and highest combined recycling and composting rate. The competition is sponsored by EPA’s WasteWise program, which engages organizations to educate their members and constituents about the benefits of reducing solid waste.
Once the Game Day Challenge is over, VMI’s recycling team will be gearing up for this spring’s annual RecycleMania contest, in which VMI will defend its top-five national standing.
– Sherri Tombarge