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#SustainableOU: Game Day Challenge recycling results

Ohio University Bobcat fans rose to the occasion during the Oct. 26 game against the Miami University Redhawks, successfully competing in the Game Day Challenge.

The Game Day Challenge is a nation-wide initiative meant to minimize waste production and maximize recycling rates at football games.
Typically, game day recycled items are sorted and the trash goes straight to landfill. During the challenge, volunteers also sorted the trash following this game. In fact, 69 percent of what was thrown away as trash was recovered as recyclable or compostable items.

The extra effort helped increase the total recovery rate from 28 percent to 77 percent. Although the result was shy of the 80 percent goal, Campus Recycling Manager Andrew Ladd says the challenge was overall successful. Ohio University recycled and composted enough to finish ninth in the nation of competing schools and succeeded in beating Miami University by two and a half percent.

The recovery rates varied by location and increased significantly following the sort:

Recycling Rate Graph

Most impressive was the 99 percent recovery rate at the student tailgate prior to the sort. The tailgate was meant to be zero-waste by vendors bringing only recyclable items, so minimal sorting was necessary.

Ladd says unfortunately while the lessons learned will be useful for future events at both Peden Stadium and the Convocation Center, manually sorting the trash after every game is not currently realistic. 80 hours of labor were dedicated to the sort. These recycling rates may be possible as fans place smaller amounts of waste in the trash.

Although the 77 percent total recovery rate was three percent shy of the 80 percent goal, Ladd says the challenge was overall successful.
Feedback from this single event will be used to help Ohio University move forward to a truly #SustainableOU.