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#SustainableOU: Greening game day

At this Saturday's game day, Ohio University's Athletics and Campus Recycling are preparing for a "win-win." On Oct. 26, the Bobcat football team will contend with the Miami University Redhawks, while fans participate in a nation-wide competition amongst universities and colleges called the Game Day Challenge.

The Game Day Challenge is designed to minimize waste produced at football games while maximizing recovery rates. As a participant, Ohio University will implement extra programs and track its success through reduced waste and disposal data.  

Recycling and Refuse Manager Andrew Ladd is working with the Athletics Department and the tailgate vendors to accomplish an important goal for the day -- to have a "Zero-Waste tailgate" at the student festivities in Punchcard Park.

These vendors will include Kiser's Barbeque, Domino's Pizza, and Chick-fil-a. All agreed to only distribute recyclable or compostable items, leaving behind items like plastic forks and ketchup packets.
"Zero-Landfill, often called Zero-Waste, is truly the future of planning events and operations at Ohio University and around the world," Ladd said.

Prior to this upcoming event, Ladd says Bobcats already effectively make a difference in the recycling community. At a typical game, Ohio University recycles aluminum, plastic and glass. Depending on the location, recovery rates vary:

  • Student Tailgate: 80 percent recovery

  • Community Tailgate: 30 percent recovery

  • Inside Peden Stadium: 60 percent recovery

The goal at Game Day Challenge is a minimum of 80 percent recovery rate across all three.

However, higher endeavors are conceivable. At some University football games, recycling recovery rates are just shy of 100 percent, and trash is not even made available to fans.  

Consistent Zero-Waste football games are a long-term goal for Ohio University, and Ladd says the upcoming tailgate will exemplify the institution's ability to succeed in recycling efforts.

"At Ohio University we already capture over 1,200 tons a year in compostable food and grounds waste as well as over 2,000 tons a year in recyclables. In order to meet the goals set forth in the Sustainability and Climate Action Plans, we are moving quickly towards converting more and more University events to being run in a way which sends nothing to the landfill," Ladd said.

The Oct. 26 student tailgate will likely serve as the model for reaching those kinds of goals at future events. 

Learn more about another Green event launching on the Oct. 26 game day.