For the UMass Minutemen football team’s last home game of the season on Saturday, Nov. 19, the Campus Sustainability Initiative hosted the national EPA Game Day Challenge. The campus joined thousands of other recycling events across the country to raise awareness of recycling and reduce waste at college football games.
All food, beverages and containers sold at the game were either compostable or recyclable to reduce waste and littering and raise awareness about the importance of recycling and the availability of recycling bins on campus, says Ezra Small, campus Sustainability Manager. The event was a joint effort of Auxiliary Services, UMass Athletics and the Campus Sustainability Initiative. “Our campus recycling rates are very high compared to other schools and we’re proud of our sustainability efforts, but football games generally produce a lot of waste. This event was a great opportunity to educate the community and improve on our accomplishments,” Small pointed out.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will give out five awards in its Game Day Challenge: to the school with the lowest waste generated per capita, the largest overall diversion from landfill rate (includes compost), the largest greenhouse gas reduction, the largest recycling rate and the largest organic reduction rate.
The game-day event at UMass Amherst combined the EPA challenge with “America Recycles Day,” usually celebrated on Nov. 15. A national program of Keep America Beautiful since 1997, it is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting recycling in the United States.
Student volunteers diverted more than 580 pounds of compostable waste from reaching the trash. By the end of the game, most of the trash bins around the stadium were empty while the compost and recyling bins were full!