MARCH 2012

Connecticut University wins EPA recycling challenge

Central Connecticut State University was among five schools nationwide to win the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2011 Game Day Challenge, a competition among colleges and universities nationwide with the goal of lowering waste generated at college football games and increasing participation in waste reduction programs.

As part of the challenge, 7 schools in New England and more than 75 schools across the nation designed a waste reduction plan for one 2011 regular season home football game, measured their results and submitted them to EPA.

Central Connecticut State University won in the Waste Minimization category, meaning they had the least amount of waste generated per attendee. Each attendee generated an average of .059 lbs. of waste at the game. Yale University came in second with an average of 2.19 lbs. of waste per attendee.

Other schools that participated in New England were Harvard University; the Campus Sustainability Initiative at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst; Brown University; the University of Rhode Island, and Bryant University.

Other categories and the winners were:

  • Diversion Rate Champion (Highest combined recycling and composting rate) – University of California, Davis.
  • Greenhouse Gas Reduction Champion (Greatest greenhouse gas reductions from diverting waste) – University of Virginia.
  • Recycling Champion (Highest recycling rate) – University of Virginia.
  • Organics Reduction Champion (Highest organics reduction rate) – Marist College.

Participating colleges and universities, including 2.7 million fans, diverted more than 500,000 lbs. of waste from football games this fall, preventing nearly 810 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – equivalent to the annual emissions from 159 passenger vehicles.

These colleges and universities and their fans took one step further to green the gridiron and help build awareness around the importance of recycling, reducing and reusing. In 2010, Americans kept 85 million tons of waste out of landfills by recycling and composting, boosting the national recycling rate to 34 percent. Out of the 165 million tons of waste that went into landfills, food scraps made up 20 percent. Food is the single largest waste stream that ends up in landfills.

To address food waste, EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge under the Sustainable Materials Management program encourages schools to donate surplus and wholesome fresh food from sporting venues and cafeterias, instead of throwing it away.

The competition was sponsored by EPA’s WasteWise program, a voluntary program through which organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste and select industrial wastes, benefiting their bottom line and the environment.