- Colleges and universities will compete from now through the end of November to see which can reduce and recycle the most items, such as glass bottles and food packaging, at stadiums and tailgating parties. Schools are invited to sign up for this annual GameDay Recycling Challenge by Oct. 15.
- The national program is administered by Keep America Beautiful in partnership with the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), RecycleMania Inc., and the Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise program.
- During the challenge, schools pick one or more home football games to promote waste reduction and recycling. Winners for each athletic conference will be recognized, and national winners will be recognized for the total amount of waste recycled, composted and donated, as well as the percentage of waste diverted from disposal. During the 2014 challenge, nearly 2.2 million pounds of waste was diverted from 91 schools.
The Clemson Tigers were last year's winners, collecting over 60,000 pounds of recyclables and food organics during a single home game.
"Football is big on our campus and the GameDay Recycling Challenge is our chance to shine," said Dave VanDeventer, Clemson's solid waste and recycling manager. "The Challenge allows us to showcase our athletics department’s sustainability efforts and demonstrate Clemson’s competitiveness off the field as well as on."
College sporting events are great places to raise recycling and waste reduction awareness because they produce so much material, and companies are getting in on the action. In September, recycled fiber company Repreve partnered with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for its "Turn It Green" event at Kenan Stadium. More than 20,000 plastic bottles were recycled into clothing items for the event, and a similar event is planned during the coming basketball season.
The pros are getting into the act, as well. For the second consecutive year, the Detroit Lions of the NFL will partner with Repreve as the team's official sustainability partner. And the Buffalo Bills have partnered with Republic Services for the third year to increase recycling participation at games.