WAUKESHA, WIS.—The Game Day Recycling Challenge is a friendly recycling competition among the nation’s colleges and universities. From brats to nachos and bottled water to beverage cans, college game days produce a large and valuable volume of recyclable material. Carroll University took on the challenge to increase recycling and composting at football games, to shrink its environmental footprint and to broaden sustainability efforts.
This year, Carroll Pioneers fans recycled their way to third place in the Waste Minimization category of the competition, or the least amount of waste generated per attendee. That is a four-spot leap from 2012, when Carroll placed seventh. At the Sept. 28, 2013, game against St. Norbert College, Carroll University recycled 153 pounds of material, achieving a 76 percent diversion rate.
The Game Day Challenge at Schneider Stadium was hosted by Carroll’s Office of Environmental Sustainability, the Athletics Department and Waukesha County Recycling. In addition to designated composting and recycling stations, Student Environmental Representatives provided bags for tailgaters to sort their recyclables. Only canned or bottled beverages were sold, and purchased food items were served only on compostable paper plates.
At halftime of the Pioneers versus Green Knights game, Student Environmental Representatives tossed T-shirts to the fans and organized a relay race between the university mascot, Pio Pete, the Waukesha County recycling mascot, Recycle Raccoon, and audience participants. Pio Pete’s team won the race. One lucky fan won a drawing for a new Trek bike, donated by Cyclesmith in Waukesha.
More than just a competition, the Game Day Challenge is an opportunity for schools like Carroll University to demonstrate that recycling and reducing waste are not activities limited to the home or office. Starting with the spring 2014 athletics season, Carroll’s outdoor athletics complex will feature permanent recycling stations. “We are proud that recycling will now always be a home-field advantage for Pioneers fans,” said Kate Christensen, Environmental and Utilities Resource Coordinator.
To see the official results from the more than 85 schools that participated in the Game Day Recycling Challenge, visit gamedaychallenge.org/results.