Industry Market Trends

Sustainability Spotlight: Universities Score Big in Recycling Challenge

Jan 19, 2012

Participating in the EPA's annual Game Day Challenge, more than 75 schools across the country designed a waste reduction plan for one 2011 regular season home football game, measured their results, and submitted them to EPA. Participating colleges and universities hosted 2.7 million fans and worked with them to divert more than 500,000 pounds of waste from football games this fall, avoiding GHG emissions equivalent to taking 159 cars off the road for one year.

Central Connecticut State University won in the Waste Minimization category by generating the least amount of waste per attendee. Each attendee generated an average of a mere 0.059 pounds of waste at the game - less than half that of the second place school in this category, University of California at Davis, where attendee's generated an average of 0.124 pounds of waste each.

"The bottle bill in Connecticut makes a difference and I realized our food service uses tissues for everything, no trays or heavy dishes," said Domenic Forcella, director of environmental health and safety at Central Connecticut State University. "Plus, there's a limited menu so there's no popcorn boxes and basically everything we serve comes wrapped in tissue."

Winning for the second year in a row, Marist College clobbered their competition in the Organics Reduction category with donated, reused, or composted organics averaging 0.713 pounds per person. Then nearest competitor, University of Colorado at Boulder, came in at 0.153 pounds per person.

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

This 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. To read more, visit