Attention environmentalists and college football fans!
The Environmental Protection Agency is holding its second annual Game Day Challenge.
For those who want to get in the game, the competition calls upon colleges and universities to reduce, reuse and recycle the most waste at one home game in October.
Schools are invited to design their own waste reduction plan and calculate the results. Categories include:
- least amount of waste generated per attendee
- greatest greenhouse gas reductions
- highest recycling rate
- highest organics reduction rate (i.e., food donation and composting)
- highest combined recycling and composting rate.
At every gathering of 20,000 to 50,000 people, there is a lot of potential waste involved: the boxes that are used to transport the tickets, programs, food supplies and T-shirts; the food containers; even the energy consumed to travel to the stadium, as well as to light the scoreboard and the field.
Clearly, reduce, reuse and recycle at a college football game is a tremendous idea, and the program merits repeating on a more frequent basis than once a year for one game.
Imagine the winning programs being implemented for the entire season, like at football powerhouse Penn State.
Perhaps high schools might also participate. The attendance at high school football games, of course, is lower, but their fans consume the same paper cups, plates and napkins and likely are willing to donate canned goods. When the seniors go to college, they will already be familiar with and supporters of the Game Day environmental awareness program.
And why stop at football? At the arenas and stadiums where the professional athletes play — basketball, baseball, hockey and even tennis — fans and vendors all use vast quantities of paper containers, among other recyclable materials. Many individual teams have adopted the initiatives organized by their leagues.
Let’s applaud the EPA for this initiative and encourage them to go the whole nine yards and find ways to engage more schools, teams, stadiums and fans in waste reduction.