Meeting the Challenge

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – When it comes to keeping waste generated during a football game out of the landfill and back into a recycling program, no one in the Southeastern Conference can compete with the University of Arkansas. Based on results recently released as part of the 2016 Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Game Day Challenge, the University of Arkansas is tops in the SEC and ranks seventh in the nation in diversion rate, the process of diverting waste from landfills.

Arkansas participated in the challenge for two home games during the 2016 football season including the Alabama (Oct. 8) and LSU (Nov. 12) games. Razorback Athletics teamed up with Boston Mountain Solid Waste District and the University of Arkansas’ Office of Sustainability to divert 76.855 percent of all waste generated from the LSU game to earn the best rate among SEC schools and a top-10 rate nationally.

Arkansas also finished second in the SEC and third in the nation in total recycling for the 2016 season with 53,950 pounds of recycled materials. In addition, Arkansas ranked second in the SEC in recycling per capita (.715) and greenhouse gas reduction per capita (.001057) and third in organics reduction per capita (.017) for the Alabama game.

“I want to thank Razorback fans for helping us turn game day trash into renewable resources,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “Led by our Athletics Facilities staff, and coordinated in conjunction with our sustainability partners on campus and in the community, we have been able to help establish a standard for diversion in the SEC and throughout the nation. While we are pleased with our progress, we remain committed to our collaborative work to minimize our footprint while maximizing the endorsement and promotion of sustainable practices.”

The GameDay Recycling Challenge is a nationwide competition among universities to reduce and recycle the waste generated at home football games. During each competition cycle, participating schools report recycling, compost and attendance data for at least one home football game. The GameDay Recycling Challenge is administered by the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), RecycleMania, Keep America Beautiful and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise.

As part of the competition, blue recycling bags were distributed to tailgaters and Razorback fans were encouraged to throw their recyclable waste in recycle bins located in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, as well as parking lots and tailgating areas on campus. A 10-foot trailer was located at The Gardens while an addition trailer was located at Victory Village North, just north of the stadium and near the Tyson Poultry Science Center.

Arkansas ranked 10th nationally in total recycling in the same competition in 2015. This was the sixth year that the University of Arkansas has competed in the challenge that encourages students and fans to go “green” and recycle waste during selected football games.

Razorback Athletics continues to be a leader in sustainability efforts on campus and throughout Northwest Arkansas. The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics manages 23 percent of all recycling on the University of Arkansas campus.