EPA Kicks Off Contest to Cut Waste at College Football Games

EPA Kicks Off Contest to Cut Waste at College Football Games

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging a different kind of trash talk at college football games this year: The EPA wants schools, sports programs and their boosters to spread the word on how to reduce, reuse and recycle.

The agency is inviting all U.S. colleges or universities with a football team to take up the 2010 Game Day Challenge. Participating schools are to design a waste reduction plan for a single home football game in October and measure the results.

The agency will award bragging rights to winners in several categories, such as the school with:

  • The least amount of waste generated per attendee
  • The greatest greenhouse gas reduction
  • The highest recycling rate
  • The highest reduction rate of organics -- e.g. food donation and composting
  • The highest combined recycling and composting rate

Winning colleges will be announced in November and posted on the EPA website. School have until September 30 to register for the competition. The University of Central Florida, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and Montana State University have already signed up.

More information about the program and details on the participating schools are available at epa.gov/gameday. The competition is part of the EPA's WasteWise program.

Colleges and universities are aggressively working to reduce their environmental footprint as demonstrated by the burgeoning list of campuses participating in efforts such as The Princeton Review's green rating program and by the in-roads made by organizations such as the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

The association and the NCAA announced last week that they are collaborating and that AASHE is making its online resources available to NCAA members seeking information and guidance on environmental sustainability.

College sports programs interested in greening their facilities and operations can take lessons from both higher education and professional sports, whose major leagues have all launched efforts to become more eco-friendly. In a survey of the country's biggest NCAA sports programs, ProGreenSports found that more and more college athletic departments are throwing their weight into energy efficiency, recycling and other environmental programs at their facilities.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user maveric2003.