The results are in! The University placed 2nd in the diversion category of the 2019 National GameDay Recycling Challenge. The October football game marked the University’s fifth participation year, maintaining its annual true zero-waste event.
The 2019 competition featured 50 colleges and universities who engaged football fans to see who could recycle the most and reduce the most waste. A total of 1.8 million pounds of game-day waste was recycled or composted with the help of 6.9 million fans at 115 games. This accounts for 1.5 million pounds of recycling (bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, and other materials) and more than 430,588 pounds of organic materials that were composted or recovered, including pre- and post- consumer food waste and compostable serviceware. These totals prevented the emission of 1,801 MTCO2E (metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) of greenhouse gases, equivalent to eliminating 383 cars for a year, or 4.5 million miles driven.
During and after the University’s game, Rochester students and staff volunteered as “zero-waste rangers” who collected and sorted waste while encouraging others on campus to promote sustainability. In addition, Dining Services provided compostable materials as part of the event’s concessions and catering. Other partners from Athletics & Recreation, Support Operations, River Campus Environmental Services, Horticulture & Grounds and the University’s waste and recycling partner Waste Management also contributed to the successful event.
The University’s diversion rate was 91.48 percent this year, which includes all recycling, plus organics composting and recovery as a percent of total trash. Since 2015, the University has consistently reached a diversion rate above 90 percent, a notable improvement from the 2010 diversion rate of 40 percent.
As Sustainability Coordinator Amy Kadrie states, “We are excited to have achieved a waste diversion rate above 90% for the fifth year in a row! Achieving big results on a small scale at our school has been possible thanks to the collaboration of our athletics, dining, grounds and facilities departments, and especially due to the work of our zero-waste rangers on game day.”
The statistical breakdown of the 2019 GameDay results is listed below:
Total Waste: 279 pounds
Total Recycled: 256 pounds
Total Organics: 52 pounds
Per Capita Recycling (lbs/person): 0.66
Per Capita Organics Reduction (lbs/person): 0.13
Per Capita Waste Generation (lbs/person): 0.72
Diversion Rate (%): 91.48
GHG reduction (Total MTCO2E): 0.31
GHG reduction (MTCO2E/person): 0.000802
The University is currently participating in the 2020 Recyclemania Tournament, an eight-week competition amongst colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. The University’s RecycleMania promotional campaign is led by Facilities Team Green who is working with co-sponsors Grassroots, Dining Team Green, Eco Reps and GreenSpace to promote sustainability and waste reduction. A copy of this year’s RecycleMania events can be downloaded/printed here.
Written by Emily Su, Class of 2022