College football stadiums are full of passionate fans, unforgettable plays, and ample opportunity for waste reduction and recycling. This season, college and university students and alumni taking part in the GameDay Recycling Challenge recycled or reused 1,098 tons of bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, food scraps, and other recyclables, resulting in a reduction of 3,358 metric tons of greenhouses gases emitted. This is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 707 passenger vehicles, or the emissions produced by the annual electricity use of 306 households.

The GameDay Recycling Challenge, a friendly competition encouraging sustainability in collegiate athletics, promotes waste reduction and recycling practices in football stadiums and tailgating areas.

This collegiate football season, 91 schools engaged their fans to accept the Challenge. Campuses representing over 30 athletic conferences, including the ACC, PAC 12 and SEC, competed within their conference in five categories. These included Waste Minimization and Greenhouse Gas Reduction.

Schools that tracked waste and recycling weights from tailgating areas in addition to their stadiums competed nationally to see who recycled the most and who achieved the highest diversion rate.

The national winners of the 2014 GameDay Recycling Challenge are:
• Diversion Rate – Humboldt State University, 86.05 percent
• Total Recycling – Clemson University, 30.36 tons

The complete list of winners is available on the GameDay Recycling Challenge website. Winners will be recognized at the 2015 Collegiate Sports Sustainability Summit at Purdue University in June.

“Like RecycleMania, the friendly competitive nature of the GameDay Recycling Challenge continues to grow collegiate efforts to be more sustainable as participating athletic teams and their fan base are proving to be recycling leaders both in their conference and across the nation,” said Stacy Wheeler, RecycleMania, Inc. president.

Dave VanDeventer, Recycling Manager at Clemson, expressed that “being a part of the GameDay Recycling Challenge has proved itself valuable for many reasons. It gives us the opportunity to showcase the wonderful sustainability efforts of our Athletics Department, it gives us the ability to compete against other like-minded schools in a fun, friendly competition, and we have a great benchmark tool that helps show our progress from year to year.”

“Trash generated at football games and other events is a big issue for all universities,” said Humboldt State University Sustainability and Waste Coordinator Morgan King. “The GameDay Recycling Challenge provides a great opportunity to mobilize our community to be advocates for waste reduction.”

The 2014 GameDay Recycling Challenge was produced through a partnership of the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), the Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise Program, Keep America Beautiful and RecycleMania, Inc.

Schools committed to zero waste within their stadiums are recognized on the Zero Waste Wall of Fame. Zero waste is commonly defined as reaching a 90 percent or higher diversion rate.

“Congratulations to all the schools, staff and students who participated in the GameDay Recycling Challenge,” said Craig Busch, CEO of Busch Systems. “The amount of effort, enthusiasm, education and organization that went into this year’s competition made us proud to be involved as a sponsor.”