DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke University’s gameday waste minimization efforts were recently recognized at the Collegiate Sports Sustainability Summit in West Lafayette, Ind., as the institution was named an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) GameDay Challenge Conference winner. Duke’s diversion rate of 65.35 percent, determined by total pounds of recyclables divided by the sum of pounds of trash and recyclables, ranked first in the ACC and 12th nationally.
The GameDay Recycling Challenge is a friendly competition for colleges and universities to promote waste reduction at their football games, implementing waste reduction programs during home games. Schools track and report waste reductions and disposal data that is used to rank the schools.
Duke’s efforts to create a more eco-friendly waste management process on game day, entitled Zero Waste at Wallace Wade, began back in 2013, with the athletic department teaming with Liza Schillo, a graduate student attending the Nicholas School for the Environment at Duke. With Schillo’s assistance, a plan was formulated to help reduce the amount of waste generated by fans in Wallace Wade Stadium, with the initiative put into practice this past football season. The University entered the season with the goal of diverting, on average, a minimum of 50 percent of all game day waste. The results of the plan were evident during the 2014 campaign.
Of the seven home contests last year, Duke’s diversion rate remained over 40 percent in six of the seven games, with the conference-leading diversion rate of 65 percent occurring on Nov. 20 during Duke’s matchup with North Carolina. With a capacity crowd of 33,941 in attendance, a total of 16,040 pounds of waste was recycled, 9,100 pounds were sent to the landfill and 1,120 pounds were composted, leading to 17,160 pounds of waste being diverted from the landfill.
Duke continues to strive for a completely waste free game day environment through the Zero Waste at Wallace Wade initiative, entering the 2015 campaign with the goal of diverting 90 percent of waste from at least one home game, while also working to become the first program in the ACC to be completely waste free.
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