Campus Scores Big in Recycling Competition - Humboldt State Now

Campus Scores Big in Recycling Competition

Humboldt State University topped NCAA Division II schools competing in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 Game Day Challenge, a national competition to eliminate the trash generated at college football games.

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Tiffany Rayford, a student in Nancy Vizenor’s Small Business Consulting class, helps fans sort their waste in the proper recycling, compost or trash bins during the EPA’s 2011 Game Day Challenge.

HSU was first place for NCAA Division II schools competing in the “Diversion Rate” category, besting the University of Central Oklahoma, Northwest Missouri State University and University of North Alabama in keeping compostable and recyclable material out of the trash. HSU also beat out University of California, Davis in greenhouse gas reductions and in pounds of recycling per person for competing California schools.

“This accomplishment is the direct result of a commitment to sustainability shared by students, the University and the greater community,” says HSU Sustainability and Waste Coordinator Morgan King. “We could not have done it without the efforts of our student volunteers and the cooperation and enthusiasm of the Athletics Department, vendors and game fans.”

HSU participated in the Game Day Challenge during the Nov. 12 home football game against Western Oregon University. Prior to the game, the campus recycling program through Plant Operations placed additional recycling and compost collection bins around the stadium. Student volunteers were stationed at the collection bins to help fans recycle and compost. Announcements were made prior to and throughout the game to encourage participation, and HSU Take Back the Tap provided free filtered water to fans with refillable water bottles.

Following the game, Plant Operations collected and weighed all trash, recycling and compost to find that the effort had led to the diversion of nearly 74 percent of waste from the landfill. The total amount of game day compost and recycling kept out of the landfill prevented nearly 1.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released.

“The Game Day Challenge had multiple benefits,” King says. “It raised awareness and active engagement in recycling and waste reduction, it saved the University money in solid waste tipping fees, and it prevented the release of greenhouse gases associated with the hauling and land-filling of trash.”

According to the EPA, 75 participating colleges and universities and 2.7 million fans diverted nearly 500,000 pounds of waste from football games in 2011, which prevented more than 810 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released. The greenhouse gas emissions avoided is equal to removing 159 passenger vehicles from the road for one year.

This was the first year that HSU participated in this competition. For more information on the EPA Game Day Challenge, go to http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/partnerships/wastewise/challenge/gameday/index.htm.