Nebraska scored a Top 10 finish nationally in the 2016 GameDay Recycling Challenge, diverting 27,426 pounds of materials from the landfill.
The friendly competition challenges universities nationwide to boost recycling and composting efforts during home football games. The challenge requires participating universities to track and report recycling, compost and attendance data for at least one home football game.
Nebraska participated in the total recycling division, which measures recycled materials during a single home game. The 27,426 pounds in recycling was recorded during the Huskers’ Sept. 17 victory over Oregon. Overall, the 13.5 tons of recyclables accounted for more than half of the 51,460 pounds of waste generated in and around Memorial Stadium during the Sept. 17 game.
“The total is a snapshot of one game, but it aligns with the recycling rates we see from every Nebraska game day,” said Prabhakar Shrestha, sustainability coordinator and chair of the Chancellor’s Sustainability Committee. “Recycling is something we continue to improve upon on campus, but it is now part of the culture of the university. Recycling is something this university stands for and it is something we expect on a day-to-day basis.”
Game day recycling at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is led by Husker athletics and “Go Green for Big Red” program volunteers.
Organized by Nebraska Recycling, volunteers distribute green recycling bags among campus tailgates, encouraging fans to fill the bags with recyclable items. After the start of each home game, the volunteers return to the tailgate sites to pick up the filled bags.
The university coordinates the recycling effort with Recycling Enterprises, which collects the material and donates revenue back to the university on a per-pound basis. Revenue is used to expand game day recycling efforts and to expand educational outreach on recycling options in Lincoln.
Louisiana State earned the No. 1 ranking in the 2016 GameDay Recycling Challenge with 78,200 pounds. Clemson was second with 65,731 pounds, while Arkansas was third at 53,950 pounds.
Among Big Ten peers, Nebraska’s total was third. Ohio State led Big Ten institutions with 43,469 pounds recycled and a sixth-place finish nationally. Rutgers was seventh nationally and second in the Big Ten with 36,842 pounds.
Overall, 79 participating universities recycled, composted or donated a total of more than 2.6 million pounds of materials, which is a 4.8 percent increase from the 2015 competition.